We don’t have territorial sea, EEZ, maybe even WPS – yet: Blame Congress

First of a series on our messy maritime claims
THE likes of former Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio and Aquino 3rd’s bungling former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario have been incessantly ranting against China, that it is encroaching on our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and our “West Philippine Sea” (WPS).

A bit of a problem though: we do not have an EEZ nor a territorial sea — yet. We have not enacted a law indicating these maritime areas. The government agency that has the sole authority to define such areas as provided by law and locate it in official maps says so.

We may not even have a West Philippine Sea, since President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s administrative order giving that name to the waters off the western side of the Philippine archipelago implicitly stipulated that a big part of it is the EEZ, which however really has a phantom existence at this time.

Yes in theory, we have such maritime areas, since we ratified the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos) in 1984, which stipulated that the EEZ “shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines.”

Official map of the Philippines on Unclos matters; only baselines, no territorial sea, no EEZ declared yet MAP FROM NAMRIA
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Divided States of America: One half racist, the other warlike?

“DIVIDED States of America” has been the title since last year of numerous articles and documentaries in US and Western media which juxtaposes — with some sarcasm — the “united” in that nation’s name to the deep fissure in American society that has been laid so starkly bare.

I can’t think of any developed country with such a deep de facto partitioning of its society.

Despite Trump’s colossal bungling in handling the pandemic, making the US the worst hit by Covid-19, 74 million Americans, or 47 percent of voters, still want him to lead the country.

America’s political leadership vividly demonstrates the division. The Democratic Party has 51 percent of the House of Representatives, while its rival, the Republicans, have 49 percent. Its Senate is cleanly cut into two, with each party having 50 seats (actually, two independents are the Democrats’ allies), giving the vice president the additional and crucial job as tie-breaker.

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From ‘FQS’ and ‘Diliman Commune’ to the Plaza Miranda bombing

AT this time of year, the Communist Party, its cultural bases like the University of the Philippines (UP) and its fronts celebrate what made possible that party’s rise, the so-called “First Quarter Storm” from January to March 1970 and on a much lesser scale, the “Diliman Commune” of February 1971. These two events convinced — or fooled — droves of idealistic youth that a Philippine revolution was at hand, and the Communist Party was its vanguard.

Inspiration and the deed: First Quarter Storm started January 1970; Plaza Miranda bombing, August 1971.

I put those events within apostrophes because there is something fake about those terms, as it is demonstrative of how Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison was a master propagandist, quick to grab credit for those historic events by tagging them with labels of communist origin. Sison plagiarized the term “First Quarter Storm” from Mao Zedong’s “January Storm” in January 1967, the uprising of his Red Guards in Shanghai that was the start of his “Great Cultural Revolution” that turned out to be a political and economic catastrophe for China.

“Diliman Commune” on the other hand was copied from the “Shanghai People’s Commune, set up also that month, which became that city’s ad hoc government during the Cultural Revolution. Thus, in the Diliman Commune, slogans, even if totally irrelevant, of the Shanghai Commune were painted on the UP walls such as “Set up rebel Committees,” “Dare to think, dare to act” and “To rebel is justified.”

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Nemenzo: ‘Academic freedom is an empty concept’

NOPE, that’s not a quote from the current University of the Philippines Diliman chancellor Fidel (named after the Cuban dictator) Nemenzo, who should stick to his field — mathematics — rather than dabble in political discourse, of which he knows nothing about. His claim that the abrogation of the 1989 UP-Department of National Defense (DND) accord is an attack on the university’s academic freedom is as if he declared two plus two is five.

That quote is from his father Francisco, who got his PhD in political science from the United Kingdom’s University of Manchester and who was UP president from 1999 to 2005 and in the 1960s, was a ranking member of the old USSR-supported Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas.

This infinitely wiser Nemenzo, in a paper titled “The Continuing Relevance of Academic Freedom,” very insightfully pointed out: “Academic freedom, in the words of Angela Davis (the noted American academic and longtime member of Communist Party of the US in the 1960s — RDT) is an empty concept, which professors use to guarantee their right to work undisturbed by the real world, undisturbed by the real problems of society.”

In one picture, the University of the Philippines’ position on the communist insurgency. Photo from Wikipedia
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How communists captured Church clergy and schools

THIS is the fourth of a series publishing articles from a rather remarkable blog by Roberto (“Beto”) Reyes narrating his experience in the communist movement.  We owe this patriot – and skillful writer – for providing us with rich material for future historians to source for this crucial part of our history.

In this part, Reyes details how the Communist Party organizers used worldviews and language that are not Maoist to recruit clergy and active laymen of the Catholic Church into their fronts, to later easily draft them – after experiencing ‘state violence’ —  to join the party’s armed struggle.  This part also narrates the party’s modus operandi, as it were, in convincing even the religious to join their atheist organization, which continues to this day.

Reyes’ blog:

“Although the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) plans for expanding in the student sector emphasized penetrating existing religious youth groups, it did try, through National Democratic Front-Youth and Students Sector (NDF-YS), to utilize its church assets to set up its own youth organizing unit.

Formed in early 1976, the group was called ‘Committee for the Conscientization of Youth’ (CCY). The mission of the CCY, as decided in its first meetings, was to raise the critical awareness of, or ‘conscientize’ youth in schools and communities. It would do so by conducting ‘conscientization seminars.’ 

Anakpawis behind them, of course. (Photo: United Methodist Church News Service)
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A communist front is born: The League of Filipino Students

Third of a series

This is the third of a series publishing articles in a blog by Roberto (“Beto”) Reyes, an eyewitness and participant in the communist movement’s expansion in the University of the Philippines sand other schools.  

This part narrates the establishment of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), allegedly the biggest and most politically successful  student and youth organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),  the equivalent of the pre-martial law Kabataang Makabayan, the first CPP front leader Jose Ma. Sison founded. The military has claimed that the LFS since its establishment in 1977 has been consistently been one of the main recruiting venues for the New People’s Army. In the past year as the military’s offensives against the NPA has intensified, more and more of its casualties have been identified as former members of the LFS.

We will never be able to defeat the communist insurgency until we have such CPP fronts like  evil Pied Pipers of Hamelin of legend mesmerizing our youth to leap to their deaths in the abyss of a romanticized but murderous rebellion.

At the forefront of communist issues. (Photo from LFS’ Facebook)
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Insurrection if in the US, ‘people power,’ democracy movement if elsewhere

AMERICANS were stunned on January 6. What they witnessed and applauded in 1986 here, followed by the so-called color revolutions in Eastern European and Middle Eastern nations, in Tiananmen Square in  China in 1989, and most recently in Hong Kong, they were witnessing in Capitol Hill –the United States Congress being taken over by angry protesters.

A witty, well-informed Brooklyn writer tweeted: “This is not who we are! We do this abroad not at home.” That got over 200,000 “likes.”  One response to that in jest: “Due to Covid travel restrictions, this year the US had to organize the coup at home.”

The American masses, even military veterans who had risked their lives in wars in countries they never heard of before, stormed the Congress building, shouting that the presidential elections were rigged, and Congress should not certify Joe Biden’s victory. The following days, the Americans who were not hoi polloi, its political, ideological and even movie-industry elite were wailing: Insurrection!

Insurrection 2021, left; People Power 1986, right. (Left photo: inquirer.net crediting Reuters)
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How communists gained control of UP Student Council, Philippine Collegian, and most campus organizations

THIS is the second of a three-part series on how the Maoists, starting in the early martial law years, succeeded in making our premier state educational institution, the University of the Philippines (UP), the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) intellectual and cultural base.

These narratives were published in a blog by Roberto “Beto” Reyes, who seems to have been a ranking CPP cadre in the late 1970s and 1980s and an eyewitness and participant in the communist conquest of UP.

We owe this account, certainly a testament to the adage “news are the first drafts of history,” to Mr. Reyes who took the effort and time to write down what could very well have been lost in people’s frangible memories. I also applaud The Manila Times’ editors, who agreed to publish such rather unusual content of an opinion column, making these narratives a solid resource material for future historians — as opposed to an internet blog that could be deleted permanently.

As I have narrated in previous columns, since the years described here the CPP has consolidated and expanded its control of the UP, which has continued to be its recruitment grounds, its de facto party school, and one of its most powerful propaganda machines. The UP’s bigger non-communist academic and student community have just looked away. There has been no ideological and cultural counter-force to the communists’ hegemony over the UP.

A usual UP happening: Not about tuition fees and the like but ‘various issues’ vs Duterte. ANC SCREENGRAB
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How the Maoist CPP conquered UP

AS big a challenge for the government to wipe out the Communist Party and its terrorist New People’s Army militarily is the dismantling of its ideological support, with the University of the Philippines — where the party’s founder Jose Ma. Sison started his Maoist movement — being its biggest ideological base, and recruitment grounds since the 1970s. It is not an exaggeration to say that the CPP since the late 1970s has conquered UP, with its academic community a testament to the adage, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

To understand the seriousness of this problem, imagine what kind of politics would be in the US if Harvard and Yale were dominated intellectually by the Communist Party of the US, or Indonesia if the University of Indonesia by an underground revived Partai Komunis Indonesia, or if the Thais had not totally cleansed Chulalongkorn University of its radical students and professors?

I chanced on a blog titled “Beto Reyes Blog: Memoirs of an Anti-Martial Law Activist.” I don’t know him, and I hadn’t met him in my activist years. But from the information he discloses in his blog, he seems to be among the generation of activists that emerged right after martial law and rose to become a ranking Communist Party cadre in the late 1970s and 1980s. My sources confirmed this.

This photo was in an Aug. 20, 2019 article in the official website of UP Diliman, entitled ‘UP Diliman Stages Walkout.’
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‘Trillanes malversed funds to pay me; Fr. Alejo swindled me’ – Sabio’

THAT’s according to lawyer Jude Sabio, who filed in 2017 the “mass murder” allegations in the International Criminal Court against President Duterte and a dozen other officials, including his purported allies Sen. Richard Gordon, then Sen.Alan Peter Cayetano and then House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.*

However, Sabio in January 2020 informed the ICC prosecutor in a sworn affidavit that he was withdrawing his complaint, and asked her to “expunge it from the record.”

One reason for Sabio’s turnaround was his realization, he said in his affidavit, that Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th in conspiracy with the Jesuit Fr. Albert Alejo, Sen. Leila de Lima and the rest of the Liberal Party-led opposition were just out to advance their “their political agenda which is to undermine and topple President  Duterte so that Vice  President Lenny [Robredo] would become president.”

ICC filer’ denounces his clients. (PNP, ANC screen grab)
‘ICC filer’ denounces his clients. (PNP, ANC screen grab)
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