It’s that time of the year again when the quaint story of a country that fought for independence in 1898 and lost then became “independent” because a bunch of shrill people said so unilaterally gets told. The authors of this story evidently take to heart an old truism often attributed to the chi chi profession of “journalism”: Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.
It is no coincidence then that the little clique of “thought leaders” who propagate the idea of a Philippine “independence” dating back to 1898 is the very same one that was behind the propagation of a more recent narrative that misled Filipinos for three decades. The idea that “revolutionary change” happened in 1986 after a street mob supposedly shouted down (or mass rosary-beaded) then President Ferdinand Marcos was a lie that an entire mass media industry went on to conspire with this mob to ingrain in the Filipino psyche. Small surprise that both the Mob and the entire industry now suffer a crisis of credibility.
It seems that this ideological wasteland left by the collapse of Big Corporate Media credibility and the catastrophic discredit of the narrative of the Yellowtards (the rabid bloc of the Opposition loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan) now serves as the foundation for the opportunistic resurgence of communist “activism” we are seeing today. The communists after all claim to own Filipino “nationalism” and this is evident in the dishonest names they give to the barely-legal fronts they put up that pretend to participate in legitimate politics.
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The so-called Makabayan Bloc led by the communist Satur Ocampo representing the biggest coalition of communist front organisations in Congress is an example. This group claims that “Makabayan” in this regard stands for “Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan”, literally translated: “people’s nationalist coalition”. Sounds like a communist name, doesn’t it (think “People’s Republic of China”)? That’s because they, in fact, are communists. This group consists of people who are so confident in the effectiveness of the thin semblance of legitimacy they cloak their crooked intent with that they couldn’t even be bothered to pretend to distance themselves from that old Cold War ideological cancer.
This year, a rally dubbed “Grand Mañanita” that aims to piggyback on general festivities on the occasion of the June 12 “Independence Day” idea to push the agenda of opposing the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill is being organised by this suspect bunch.
One of the leading promoters of this rally is a group that calls itself the Movement Against Tyranny. It seems to be closely affiliated with Filipino communist fronts as evident in the Community section of its Facebook page where listed under its “Related Pages” section are known communist front groups such as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the People’s Alternative Media Network (Altermidya), Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, or the Fist of May Movement), and IBON Foundation, among others.
A rally around an event that is supposed to represent the aspirations or sentiments of the general Filipino public had, in this instance, been politicised and, worse, co-opted into the narrow agenda of an extremist mob that aims to suppress a law that clearly targets the criminal elements they openly coddle. It is quite evident that the communists are filling a void in the rhetoric — one, perhaps, left open for hijacking by less radical cliques in the Opposition.
What hope then is there of any kind of true national movement that all Filipinos can relate to when every conversation and every occasion is bathed in a harsh partisan or ideological colour by a small but shrill community of radical “activists”? It is high time normal Filipinos take back their political chatter and redirect its focus back to what really matters.
If the framers of the notion that the Philippines did become “independent” in 1898 are truly serious about making that idea fly, they should reconsider allowing a bunch of crooked “activists” to simply hijack that notion and use it for their dishonest agendas.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.