Strategy vs. communist terrorists

The legal challenge against the National Terror Law is still being deliberated by the Supreme Court. But there is no question in my mind that drastic measures such as those enshrined in the law are needed to put an end to the communist insurgency. Everything must be done to shut down all avenues for the recruitment of potential communist guerillas and disrupt the flow of finances by freezing bank accounts owned by leftist organizations.

Let’s make no mistake about it. The Makabayan bloc is an essential part of the communist strategy to overthrow the government. That has long been acknowledged by Joma Sison. Without a legal front, the armed insurgency would amount to nothing. The ultimate goal of the revolution is persuade the Filipino people that government is not looking after their needs. The barrel of the gun is not exactly an effective weapon in trying to bring about a radical shift in the public mind. It requires people who pretend to be working for the best interests of the masses.

Hence, legal fronts are critical to the success of the armed struggle. There must be a constant pressure on the public consciousness to look at an alternative form of governance to address their needs. It has to be a slow creep forward, operating within the legal system, as these groups pummel people’s minds with propaganda. Organization is necessary to make this happen: labor groups, farmers, students, professionals, teachers, fisherfolk, indigenous groups and more.

This is the purpose of rallies and demonstrations. The communists need images of large numbes of discontended Filipinos marching in the streets, shouting anti-government slogans. It has worked for centuries in agitating people to rise against their governments. The role of armed guerillas is to harass government and project the image that government is unable to establish peace and order, and people will continually live under a shadow of fear.

It becomes textbook strategy to target the legal fronts and shut down the faucet. Reduce the ability of these Makabayan groups to operate with impunity and become a magnet for potential armed guerillas and “legal” sympathizers. Because of the “rule of law”, front organizations have been free to stage their activities, and government can only watch.

The new law against terrorisim changes everything. Government brings a “paradigm shift” to its fight against terrorism. Now, front organizations included in the list of terrorist organizations will have to go underground. The state can now peak into their bank accounts; if proof is found that money to fund terror activities are funneled through these accounts, the accounts can be frozen.

Money is the lifeblood of terrorist organizations. Without money, the front organizations will simply crumble. They will starve to death. Once that happens, the armed com;ponent of the communist insurrection will also collapse. The movement will run out of funds to buy weapons, bullets and feed their struggling army. It’s really simple, which is also the reason why the communist front organizations are fighting tooth and nail to get the anti-terror law invalidated.

The Filipino people are tired of this armed conflict. There is no sense in this internal war. Lives are being sacrificed at the altar of an ideology that has long been discredited. It has become nothing more than a futile attempt for an aging Joma Sison to grab power and put to waste all the gains we have made.

Commander’s intent

As a student of history and leadership, I read a lot of biographies and watch YouTube videos on these subjects.

One great video I watched recently was an interview with former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (he was a four-star General of the US Marines when he retired) about his leadership philosopy. What he said caught my attention because it describes how great leaders do their work.

Mattis talked about “commander’s intent” as an approach to the leadership role. It will help explain why Presidents like Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte can afford to play golf at night or even “vanish” from view for two weeks. A leader doesn’t need to cook lugaw and serve it to the people. He doesn’t need to be on Facebook or YouTube everyday to have his presence “felt”.

This is a good lesson for those who are ignorant about the work of leaders.

According to Mattis, a good leader only needs to articulate what needs to be done, his vision of how an organization should pursue its goals and objectives. He calls it the “commander’s intent”. Once this is communicated to the organization, the people working in the organization are given wide latitude in formulating their strategies to accomplish the mission. A good leader does not look over the shoulders of his subordinates.

The only requirement is that the “commander’s intent” is clear and leaves no room for doubt.

This is the leadership style of President Duterte. He has outstanding men and women working with him on the team. Most, if not all, possess sterling leadership qualities of their own, honed by long years of experience in the government, military, business or academe. There are a few bad eggs, but not enough to spoil the entire basket.

It also explains why President Duterte has shown a bias toward retired military and police generals to handle the heavy work.

Many people found it hard to understand why President Duterte appointed retired General Rolando Bautista as DSWD chief. In the past, women with no experience in logistics and organization work handled this portfolio. That betrays a lack of understanding of the true nature of social welfare services, especially in times of disaster.

Military generals spent decades learning and training in making sure people, weapons, ammunition, transportation and the like placed at the right spot at the right time. That experience is invaluable. If these generals fail to achieve that confluence in the delivery of vital items at a time they are needed, many lives could be sacrificed.

With his background, Secretary Bautista doesn’t need close supervision on how he does his work. It may not be perfect, but in the last two years when the country was hit by earthquakes, typhoons, volcano eruptions and, of course, the Covid 19 pandemic, Bautista has done a good job.

The same thing can be said about General Carlito Galvez. This quiet individual shies away from the spotlight and works quietly. And despite the handicaps, Galvez has succeeded in bringing vaccines into the country to start the counter-attack on this unseen enemy. All the political noise didn’t distract him. It won’t be long before his work will unravel itself and prove that government is not sleeping.

Much more can be said about the former generals on the President’s team.

Suffice it to say that Mayor Digong’s leadership style isn’t a “hit or miss” approach. He has set the direction on his compass, and everybody works harmoniously with each other. There are occasional gaffs, but that’s not surprising with the complex problem we are facing. Leaders are not afraid of making mistakes, and everybody on a team must also embrace that attitude. Being afraid of mistakes is a barrier to innovation and confine team members to old playbooks that may have become obsolete.

Dumidilim na ang kinabukasan ni Leni

Leni Robredo is stepping up on her non-sense to try and persuade the Filipino people it is time they gave her a chance to become President by forcing Tatay Digong out of office.

With elections just 13 months away, her ambition to become another Cory — widowed by murder (by her own party) — is becoming dimmer by the day.

She will soon be talked about in the past tense.Ang babaeng sinakripisyo ang asawa dahil lang sa kanyang uma-apaw na ambisyon.

Leni has no integrity

Integrity is one of the character traits that a leader must possess in order to be effective in that role.

Unfortunately, Leni Robredo is utterly without integrity.

Number one: she is dishonest.

Even in the face of strong evidence that her husband was murdered, she continues to lie to herself, and to the people, by pretending it was really an accident.

How can she convince ordidnary Filipinos to believe her when she ignores the obvious truth?

The least she could have done was ask for a deeper investigation.

However, she became part of the cover-up after she was promised the opportunity to become the next Cory Aquino.

Number two: Leni has brushed off the issue about her illicit relationship with Bolet Banal.

She must have thought that Filipinos are stupid and so gullible that even the most glaring of lies will be accepted as gospel truth.

That translates to one thing: she has no respect for the Filipino people.

These are just two reasons why Leni Robredo will fail in her bid to ascend to the Presidency.

Disaster for the Filipino people

For Leni Robredo to become President by any means in the remaining months before the elections is a prescription for disaster.Parang pina-inom ng cyanide ang mga tao bilang gamot laban sa Covid 19.

Drilon wants to scrap history in the name of vanity

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon always achieves things with the use of political muscle and bullying. Anybody who steps in his way gets a taste of his fury.

That was what former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon experienced three years ago when he complained that Drilon had forced him to sign an illegal agreement for a restoration project for the Iloilo Customs House.

Drilon got Faeldon to agree that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to do a structural and aesthetic make-over of the historical building and turn it into a museum.

“There’s nothing illegal about it,” Drilon asserted.

Iloilo Customs House in 1917

Under the plan, the ground floor of the Iloilo Customs House would be turned into a maritime museum. The Iloilo Customs would occupy just the second floor. The Philippine Postal Service also occupies a portion of the ground floor.

Drilon gave assurances the Bureau of Customs personnel would not be ejected from the building.

But the liar in Drilon is once again revealed.

Later this month, on April 21, the Bureau of Customs will be moving out of the building and transfer to rented office space 3 kilomters from the port area. Naturally, there is grumbling among the Customs officials and personnel. They just couldn’t express their sentiments publicly for fear that Drilon would go after them. Drilon has zero tolerance for people who disagree with him.

The Iloilo Customs House today.

From his original plan to utilize only the ground floor for a maritime museum, Drilon wants the entire building for his grandiose and delusional “legacy” project. Because Drilon knows how to flex his political muscle and pull the right strings, the BOC will spend P500,000 a month to rent the old STI building near the Iloilo Mission Hospital in Jaro, Iloilo City.

There is no logic in Drilon’s agenda. Why would the government spend half a million pesos every month to rental office space far from the place of business of the Customs bureau? What kind of museum does he intend to put in that building? Legacy? It’s vanity.

The Customs House is part of Iloilo’s history. It stood witness to the growth and development of Iloilo, which gained international prominence in trade and commerce, starting when it exported locally-produced textiles to European markets. Where it stands beside the Iloilo River, the Customs House was where shippers and traders converged each time a vessel docks at the port. In its halls, customs officials diligently collected duties on goods going through the Iloilo port.

Indeed, customs buildings are a prominent fixture in all major ports around the world. A customs house needs to be close to where the busy shipping traffic is, if only because of the practicality of being proximate to its clientele. There is no customs house that is deep inland. As much as practicable, these buildings are always at the edge of the port area.

Drilon is so obsessed with leaving a stamp of his name in Iloilo even if these projects are burdened by issues of corruption. He has become so unreasonable that he will sacrifice the efficiency of customs operations to get what he wants done.

Customs personnel are apprehensive this will adversely affect their work. And if Drilon does get his way, the history of Iloilo will be drastically changed forever. His vanity will triumph over public service.

All-out offensive

The yellows will stop at nothing to bring about their desired “leadership change” in government with just 13 months before the next elections. Their troll army, formed during the Aquino administration by Edwin Lacierda and funded by its deep warchest from the Disbursement Acceleration Program, is now stepping up on propaganda efforts to malign government. Basically, the strategy seeks to paint an image of an incompetent government in dealing with the West Philippine Sea issue with China, and the supposed failure to curb the Covid 19 pandemic.

Desperation is now etched deep in every message they post, and every hashtag they manufacture. Time is runnng out. If this were a chess game, dilawans have only less than a minute on their clock, and the opponent is ahead both in position and number of pieces left on the board. They are counting that the Filipino people will suddenly demonstrate in the streets in outrage and pave the way for Leni Robredo to succeed.

Other than that, the yellows have zero chance of surviving. Yes, surviving. No matter who their presidential bet is, that somebody is certain to lose. If Leni is their best choice, then all that is needed is for the ballots to be counted. Doom is what awaits Leni, or anybody who runs in the likelihood she chickens out.

It’s not that I believe their propaganda efforts to come close to succeeding. But the Filipino people will have to stay vigilant, so that each wave is quickly shot down with social media counter-attack. We cannot allow their lies and distortions to stay in the social media sphere long enough to even stick. We have to demonstrate to them that it’s the Filipino people themselves that they are waging war against.

Why the dilawan propaganda can never succeed

It’s Good Friday. Like every Christian I’m supposed to be in contemplative mode on the life and passion of Jesus Christ. But I’m not the type who becomes deeply religious only during Holy Week. I practice my faith every single day of my life. And I’m sure Jesus Christ won’t mind if I use this Holy day to write about politics. Anyway, his life was also about politics. The politics of good over evil. What happened to him was the result of the corruption in the politics of his time. That same politics is still very much visible in this modern day and age.

During the last few days, we witnessed another round of yellow propaganda against our President. The agitation has been stepped up. I can detect a sense of urgency in their shrill voices as they try to spread false allegations about what is happening in the country. Central in this propaganda campaign is the Covid 19 response of the government. Dilawans are desperately trying to paint a doomsday scenario: that if the government of Tatay Digong is not replaced, Filipinos are in grave danger from this deadly disease.

Their message is that the Duterte administration is inept, incompetent and plainly incapable of providing security and comfort to the people in these most trying times.

It must really be frustrating for them because aside from the occasional trending of the hashtags they coin to propel their disinformation to reach the entire population, none has even caused a ripple in the water.

Filipinos have shown a “hu-hum” attitude towards this propaganda effort. No matter how much flint have been rubbed together to produce enough sparks to start a conflagration, they are unable to start even a small fire. It’s like trying to light a fire with wet wood.

Haven’t they even paused to wonder why their desired results aren’t happening?

Well, let me tell them the reason: the experiences of Filipinos do not lend any weight and credence to their message. Incompetent and inept? An overwhelming majority of the people — as much as 90% — feel secure and safe under the current dispensation. Nothing in their everyday living, no matter how difficult it has become under Covid 19, tells them their government is not doing what it ought to. In fact, I would venture to say Filipinos trust their government now than ever before.

And the harder the yellows try with their current media strategy, their efforts only sink deeper in a quagmire. Filipinos detect a sinister motive in their behavior. A combination of the oligarchy, the Liberals and the communist insurgency is pooling resources to bring back the old order, a political state that had failed the people. They claim that hope is their currency; people can only see darkness ahead if they are allowed to regain power.

Holy Thursday reflection

I don’t know if I am correct, but I believe it’s only during Holy Week when many Catholics “rediscover” their faith, only to forget about it altogether for the rest of the year. I need to be brutally frank. This observation is borne out by the greed and sinfulness we see around us. There is so much corruption, and wealth has been elevated to the status of god by a great many.

I look at this with sadness. Our faith has become detachable when it is convenient for us. It is attached by Velcro to our wrists. As soon as it is sundown on Easter Sunday, it is quickly detached and many people are back to their old sinful ways. I feel it is a big letdown for a nation that prides itself as the biggest Roman Catholic country in Asia.

Hypocrisy shrouds our behavior. We pretend to be virtuous and many public officials do not hesitate to gobble up public funds like they’ve starved for eons. Worse, a substantial segment of the population do not feel outraged at such moral depravity displayed by public officials. It is becoming an acceptable norm in society.

This is what bothers me as I reflect upon our existence on earth and how many people have lost their moorings from their faith.

But I will not allow myself to be a disinterested observer.

I will continue to wage battle against the greed and sinfulness in society. I could not find a worse example than what Senator Franklin Drilon has done. For this reason, I intend to find spiritual guidance from the life of Jesus Christ as I get back into the arena of moral combat against the corruption of Drilon.

Amen.

Educating our children in the era of Covid 19

It’s been more than a year now since our schools had to close down because of the Covid 19 pandemic and confine the education of our children to our homes. Nobody had anticipated that the pandemic would last this long. This forced our education officials to hastily put together home-learning modules to allow children to continue their schooling.

But there has been constant pressure for government to bring back face-to-face learning in schools. Many parents have expressed apprehension that if this pandemic lasts much longer, the education of their children would suffer. For many, there is no better way to provide children with good education than in the traditional classroom setting. Any other way would jeopardize their ability to gain the knowledge and skills to navigate the world in adulthood.

That premise stands on weak ground.

The best education can in fact be obtained without our children having to leave home and toil from 8 to 4 p.m., tackling a number of subjects in 50-minute segments throughout the day and sitting in rows of chairs in the classroom in a fashion dating back hundreds of years.

With access to the internet, children can learn about every subject that interests them, at any time or length of time they feel is needed to fill their minds with an abundance of knowledge. I believe as much as 85% of households in the country own at least one smart phone. The problem is that many parents do not understand the power they possess in educating their children.

Truly, we live in a golden age in education. It breaks economic barriers because both rich and poor children can read the best books, listen to lectures, and watch videos about the world around us. No longer do children have to rely on outdated textbooks for their education. Why learn about the animal or plant kingdom through textbooks when there’s an abundance of excellent videos about them? Or why make children suffer through boring lectures on social studies and history when they can witness events through documentaries? And the possibilities go on and on.

I am not saying that we should altogether discard the traditional classroom setting. But as we face the current challenge of ensuring that our children’s education is not disrupted, we have to really craft strategies to take advantage of the opportunities that abound.

As I see it, the mistake being made by the Department of Education is trying to replicate classroom teaching on-line or the module system. That can only lead to disastrous results. Rather, teachers should learn how to tailor their lesson plans as guides to children on where to start and how to go deep into the woods of learning. This will allow teachers flexibility in how their “teaching” is done: fast-learners can take on a different path while slow learners can get more remedial instruction.

We should not be afraid of the pandemic and its potential effects on education. It will take some quick adjustments along the way, but we might be able to start something revolutionary for education. This pandemic can be a blessing in disguise in charting a better future for our children.