Monday, December 27, 2010
Philippines - Peace efforts or appeasement moves?
MAKING the communists end their armed struggle, which is mainly carried out by the New People’s Army, is an essential condition for capitalist market-economy prosperity in our country.
It doesn’t matter if, as some of the Armed Forces top brass said last year, the NPA has become a rag-tag force fighting for survival, or, as some in the AFP command were saying last week, the NPA is still a considerable force that the government military cannot finish off so easily. Whether the NPA is weak or strong, has but a few hundred armed soldiers or thousands of them, the fact that it is capable of killing AFP men and policemen, ambushing AFP detachments and raiding police stations and AFP armories, and in other ways disturbing the peace in the countryside and occasionally some cities, the Philippines is officially a red-rebellion beset country.
Therefore, the world media, the United Nations, the World Bank and the private lending institutions and investment houses will continue to have doubts about our country’s ability to enjoy sustainable development.
Peace in the countryside is what will ensure that productivity and economic growth can surge, sustainably, not just in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon and the happily rebellion-free provinces of Northern Luzon and the other regions our country but also those areas in Bicol, the Visayas and Mindanao that have a strong NPA presence. Even provinces in Southern Tagalog still have NPA commands, like Mindoro Occidental.
The operational capability of the communist military makes it difficult for serious investors to decide to pour their profit-motivated dollars into agri-business, energy and commercial ventures in places outside Metro Manila and the more peace-assured urban centers.
And it is an accepted fact that foreign investment—the gigantic element in President Benigno Aquino 3 rd’s Private Public Partnerships (PPPs)—is what we need to fund projects and enterprises that will create jobs and reduce massive poverty in our country.
That communist rebel capability in the provinces also reduces the efficiency, civility and economic prospects of Metro Manila and other urbanized areas of our country. For it is from the rebel-disturbed provinces where the millions of squatters come from. These tax the carrying capacity of our cities, multiply the dirt, the clogging of esteros and culverts, and in other ways subvert city-planning and the orderliness that cities must have to become fully prosperous, productive and pleasant to live in and attractive as tourists destinations.
Unless the communist rebel armies’ disappearance allows the countryside to become safe for these squatters to return to, and become new sites of industrial and business development, the Philippines will never rise above its Third World-country level.
It is therefore good for the government to resume talks with the communists.
Opinion, Manila Times