CAVITE Gov. Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla Jr. was passionate in his rebuke of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade for warning two actresses and a beauty queen that the Gabriela organization they are consorting with is a communist front. Perhaps seeing himself as a lady’s knight in shining armor, the bodybuilder governor even went to the extent of practically challenging the general to a fist fight: “May I suggest that you try knocking out someone in the same weight class?”
Remulla Jr. doesn’t know what he is talking about, both about the communist insurgency and the history of his province.
At least in this case, he is certainly not his late father’s son. He is clueless about the fact that Cavite’s prosperity today owes much to his father Juanito “Johnny” Sr.’s well-known, tough anti-communist stance and programs so that foreign and local businesses flocked to the province.
Rather than being a softie toward the communists, he should emulate his father, who made Cavite a totally Red-free province. The younger Remulla in his Facebook post claimed that the communist insurgency can be defeated only with “good governance, the availability of jobs, and justice.” This is total hogwash, and such an ancient leftist propaganda line.
It essentially has been the propaganda line of the Communist Party since its organization in 1968 that it exists and will topple the democratic government in order to bring prosperity and justice to the masses. This line has so many variations, one of which is the thinking of much of our intelligentsia and media, and especially the UP and Ateneo academe: “The communists are merely fighting for and defending the exploited. Their existence is a pressure on the elite to reform.”
This kind of thinking is garbage and is so easily debunked: So many other countries have masses who are poor and deprived of justice, yet they have no communist insurgencies. In fact, countries that effectively defeated their communist insurgencies — in Asia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea — ushered in a period of peace and stability that their economies surged to First World status.
One estimate is that the communist New People’s Army from 1973 to 2019 has killed 50,000 Philippine Army soldiers and policemen. Have Isabela, Samar, Surigao, Davao – the areas where it has operated — became prosperous? On the contrary, poverty in these areas worsened as businessmen — even small businesses — fled the areas because of the insurgency.
However, what I found shocking about Remulla Jr.’s post was this: “Militant labor unions have never appealed to the workers of Cavite simply because the Cavite government has made it a point to intervene if there are any abuses by employers.“
Remulla Jr. should outgrow this fairy tale. If the Cavite government did intervene in the 1980s and 1990s, it was more to intimidate workers.
Cavite’s growth was remarkable in the 1980s because of his father’s rule — from 1979 to 1986, and then from 1988 to 1995 — which was like, or even more iron-fisted than Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s in Davao City.
Johnny’s huge achievement, unparalleled by any governor during his time, was his all-out campaign against the communist insurgency that rid the province of the Communist Party’s labor organizers, especially the Kilusang Mayo Uno. Johnny banned strikes in Cavite, earning for it the reputation of the country’s only strike-free area.
With the Marcos government’s support for “export processing zones” in Cavite, businessmen built more than a dozen such strike-free zones in the province, to which foreign (mainly Japanese in the 1980s) and local companies rushed to build their factories. Cavite boomed. It was transformed from the country’s wild, wild West, the land of Nardong Putiks and bandits roaming Tagaytay to a land of industrial zones.
Even at the height of its strength in the 1980s, the CPP and the NPA could not organize a single unit, or any front organization in Cavite, which they hated as the province had a history as the land of revolutionaries and anti-colonial sentiment.
I cannot say whether this was due to Remulla Sr.’s persuasive power, or his well-known special police unit. To this day, while small NPA units have been operating in nearby Batangas, once even raiding Pico de Loro in Nasugbu for arms and vehicles, they stop at Cavite’s border.
Partly as a result of Remulla Sr.’s tough anti-communist stance, he proclaimed Cavite in 1991 as the “The Industrial Peace and Productivity Zone.”A 1992 brochure claimed: “All of Cavite’s three cities and twenty municipalities… enjoy political stability and public security. The strong and decisive leadership of the provincial government of Cavite has made sure that the province is free from all forms of insurgency problems that besiege other provinces.”
There of course have been other narratives for such political stability. Excerpts from a 1998 academic study* by a left-wing academic:
– “The Philippine National Police, with the support of the provincial, city, and municipal administrations, secures the province. Military detachments, police stations, and checkpoints connected by a common radio system, are positioned in strategic locations in all municipalities/cities of Cavite.”
– “Over the years, Governor Remulla has earned an international reputation as the author, engineer and enforcer of a “no- strike” industrial relations policy in the province. During his first term (1980-1986), Remulla responded to a wave of labor activism with characteristic brutality, calling out the local police, who used guns and violence to disperse workers picketing outside Cavite factories.”
– “Following his reelection to the provincial governorship in 1988, Remulla Sr. succeeded in pre-empting labor activism in Cavite and thus avoided any unpleasant incidents. He successfully encouraged factories to require prospective employees to provide letters of recommendation from the office of the town mayor or the provincial governor attesting to their reliability.”
– “The Industrial Security Action Group, a special police unit directly responsible to Governor Remulla, maintained a high profile and closely monitored developments at various industrial estates throughout the province. Persistent rumors and stories about the “salvaging” and “disappearance” of would-be Cavite labor leaders discouraged even the most powerful labor union federations in the country from attempting to organize workers in the province of ‘industrial peace and productivity’.”
I am of course not espousing such extremes as taking lives and violating people’s basic rights, just to develop a province. I am simply quoting a study, reported in other narratives, that Remulla Sr. was tough against communists and their labor organizers, which explains much of Cavite’s growth.
If Cavite is so prosperous now that any communist infiltration of its factories and schools will fail, Remulla Jr. should be concerned for the rest of the country, which has to end this insurgency if it is to develop.
Cavite’s history should be instructive, minus the human rights abuses. As Singapore, among many other countries which had, we have to have a strong government to eradicate poverty.
Not one NPA soldier or NPA sympathizer has been arrested or killed in Cavite ever. That might change though with Remulla Jr.’s flirtation with the Left. I really hope it’s not political but more about coquetry with the pretty ladies.
Or maybe they no longer make governors like they did before.
*Sidel, John T., “The Underside of Progress: Land, Labor and Violence in two Philippine Growth Zones, 1985-1995” (Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 30:1).