NEVER in his wildest dreams did Communist Party founder Jose Ma. Sison imagine that this could happen in his lifetime.
The country’s top state academic institution for which taxpayers spend P20 billion annually, the University of the Philippines, has become practically the Communist Party’s cultural base, a center for its propaganda and one of the top recruiters for its cadres and for the New People’s Army’s Maoist jihadists.
It has become a university of the Reds’ sheep, the naïve and cowards. It is ironic that while the NPA has dwindled from its peak of about 20,000 guerrillas in the mid-1980s to at most 2,000 fighters now dispersed in squads in a few scattered jungles, the communists’ power at the UP has grown over the years.
At the university’s main unit in Diliman, the communists have tightly controlled two institutions, the Student Council and the student paper, the Philippine Collegian. Chapters of the Red fronts like the League of Filipino Students and Anakbayan rampage through the campus as if they are the Maoist Red Guards in China’s 1960s Cultural Revolution, occupying even the university’s administrative center, Quezon Hall, disrupting classes anytime they want.
Can you believe this: the Student Council’s chairman Froilan Cariaga and vice chairman Richard Pagaduan, in a statement, demanded that the UP Diliman administration not allow the League of Parents of the Philippines — an association of parents whose children were recruited into the CPP-NPA, some of whom died in firefights with the military — to enter anywhere in the university to hold prayer vigils and symposiums to explain their plight. (Cariaga and Pagaduan run under the Stand Up group, whose logo is the Oblation holding a Red Flag.)
Their reason? That the association mostly of distressed mothers “echo lies, allegations and serious allegations against UJP students and progressive individuals.”
“We shall not let the forces of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to deface and tarnish our integrity,” the two council officials claimed. The campus “premises must be free from the attacks of the reactionary state, specifically the NTF-Elcac.”
Do these communist punks understand what they are saying? Don’t they know that the NTF-Elcac was ordered organized through Executive Order 70 based on existing laws, and that this order hasn’t even been challenged as unconstitutional by the usual Red operatives in the Supreme Court? How in the world can they refer to the constitutional government headed by the duly elected by President Duterte, whom 91 percent of Filipinos support based on the Pulse Asia polling, as a “reactionary state”?
The only explanation of course is that the party branch at UP has instructed these two little Red Maoists to block that pitiful association of distraught mothers from exposing the Reds’ manipulation of the gullible youth. If not, why should they be so angry at mothers crying to the world how their children were brainwashed into joining the NPA, to die in some forgotten jungle? Being youths themselves, shouldn’t they commiserate with this association of mothers? The only reason for their livid opposition to that mothers’ association is that it will expose how the gullible youths have been used as cannon fodder by the CPP-NPA for its project, going on 50 years now, to establish a dictatorship of that party.
The posts in the UP Diliman Student Council’s Facebook account in recent weeks deal mostly with their demand to end the academic year and promote all students to the next level. Before this, however, its Facebook was another version of the usual communist propaganda Facebook pages, missing no chance to demonize Duterte, and especially the government’s campaign to end the insurgency.
It is in UP Diliman where the communists’ deity Vladimir Lenin’s famous quote has become a reality: “The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.”
The official Diliman student official newspaper, The Philippine Collegian, financed by us taxpayers, has become virtually the above-ground publication of the communist newspapers Ang Bayan and Liberation, disseminating the party’s line on current issues. The Collegian’s only difference with the official communist publications is that it doesn’t mention the CPP and the NPA, referring to these mostly as “progressive forces.”
It is indeed astonishing how the Collegian and the communist fronts manage to link all student issues to call for Duterte’s ouster.
Check out the Collegian’s Facebook page and you will be shocked. It doesn’t look like a student publication anymore, as there is very little news about the Diliman students. What it posts are articles on “rice-tariffication,” alleged extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s rule, the government’s “inept” handling of the pandemic and the recent typhoons — exactly the issues Ang Bayan and Liberation write about.
The Collegian has become a communist publication. Imagine its impact on forming the minds of teenagers enrolling in the university, many from the provinces, awed by the supposed journalistic skills of its editors, even as they seldom read the mainstream newspapers. After all, the Collegian is supposed to be their newspaper. If not a generation of communist believers, the Collegian will be creating a generation of anti-government Filipinos. Now I understand why a mostly apolitical niece, a UP Los Baños student, came up to me at a party: “Why do you seem to support Duterte, Tito, isn’t he bad?”
How on earth did our premier university become the cultural and propaganda base of the Communist Party? For one, it is a testament to our media’s colossal failure. I haven’t read any account of how the communist fronts recruit UP students, nor how communist punks get to control the Collegian and the Student Council.
Another reason is that we have allowed the university and its colleges to be administered by communist sympathizers. How could UP not have a pro-communist culture when Francisco Nemenzo, Jr. was its president for six years, UP Visayas chancellor for four years, College of Arts and Sciences dean for six years? Nemenzo was Sison’s comrade in the old Partido Komunista’s “Youth Bureau,” and was with its central committee. While he did not join Sison’s party, he has remained a Marxist, and has never said a word, writing nothing against the CPP.
How could UP not develop a communist-embracing culture when it has had as a professor revered there and occupying crucial posts, a Bienvenido Lumbera, a National Artist yet the deputy head of the party’s cultural bureau who translated many of Sison’s works, as he couldn’t write a sentence in Filipino?
The UP boasts professors who have become influential opinion makers like economist Solita Monsod and Randy David. Since 1995 when they started writing at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, they must have written well over 5,000 columns. Have they ever written a single column condemning or even just criticizing the CPP-NPA? Never. David even wrote in 2018 that the military has been frightening Duterte with exaggerated reports of “widespread recruitment of university students and factory workers” … which “is a distraction from the people’s main problems.”
Many aging communist cadres are UP instructors and even professors, still sympathetic to the CPP since their egos can’t accept that once they had worshipped a failed god.
There is naiveté among the UP community — pretended or otherwise — that explains why the communist wolves easily got to rule this community of sheep. Its former vice president Jose Dalisay had expressed such naiveté: “UP has attracted all kinds — communists and socialists, yes, but also capitalists, ultraconservative Catholics and born-again Christians, Rizalist cultists, military agents, the Ananda Marga, and Muslim separatists.” He added, “rebellion and resistance are coded into UP’s DNA” and that “the UP has always been a crucible for protest.”
The denial of reality here is that he does not see that unlike the “born-again Christians” or Rizalists, the Communist Party is an organized. armed conspiracy out to topple democracy. More than that, since the 1917 Russian revolution, communists have developed expertise in exploiting the youth’s idealism and very limited experience in the world to recruit them into their conspiracy that would supposedly usher in a classless society.
The most common justification to let the communists rampage through UP is the liberal dogma: “The communists serve to pressure the exploitative elite to reform society.”
This is total fiction: It was the socialists working from within the system, or patiently awakening and empowering the working class — not armed insurrections — which have changed societies for the better. In many cases, as in Indonesia and many Latin American nations, communist insurgencies have only triggered a ruthless counter-revolution of the far right, leading to fascism.
And most importantly, unlike such people as ultra-conservative Catholics or Ananda Marga adherents, the communists have a private army they call the New People’s Army, which has proven to be as ruthless in assassinating their perceived enemies.
It is fear of retaliation from the communist assassination squads, or even mere student protests that has constrained UP academics from resisting the CPP-NPA’s hegemony over the institution. One shameless example of this was in 2018 when then UP president Danilo Concepcion apologized profusely for meeting with Imee Marcos in a reunion of the dictator’s Kabataang Barangay, when the Student Council protested that it was a “gross disrespect” of the university. After that incident, Concepcion has become the most invisible UP president ever.
There is also no counterforce, no counter-ideology to challenge the communists at UP. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was the Student Catholic Action and fraternities that confronted the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines, which Sison organized in 1965 in his work as head of the Youth Bureau of the Soviet-leaning Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas.
Sison must be really ecstatic that the UP where he started his communist career has become a university of sheep ruled by his Red wolves. The UP becoming a Red base has certainly again proven the truth of that aphorism: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Note: I am a UP alumnus, an AB Philosophy graduate, although I finished high school and two years at the Ateneo de Manila, which on the other hand has changed its color from Blue to sickening Yellow, with huge Red spots.