Small setback…

Herman Tiu Laurel


"Maliit na setback sa movement,” was the text message sent to us by my text source in reaction to my query about the reported arrest of 1st Lt. Lawrence San Juan yesterday morning. This may be considered an official response to the incident as my text source has proved consistent and reliable, and there has been no denial from the visible and invisible Oakwood young officers’ leadership to what we report of their announced views here. We are informed that a statement will also be forthcoming from them in the coming days which we are supposed to read in a Mass that will be heard in the coming days.

I use the term “Oakwood young officers” referring to what the mainstream media have so erroneously tagged as the Magdalo group. From Day One of Oakwood to this day the group led by Trillanes, et. al. have displayed the symbol that unambiguously defines the spirit, goals and aspirations of their movement. We have also repeated time and again the name by which the group calls itself and should be called: The Bagong Katipuneros. The embroidered caps they use and give out are embroidered with the initials BK and the sun symbol they use is unambiguously of the Magdiwang faction of Bonifacio.

The Magdiwang of Bonifacio raised the 16-ray sun instead of the eight-ray sun of the Magdalo faction. The symbolisms here are crucial to the correct understanding of the Oakwood young officers, for while the Magdalo faction of Aguinaldo is written in genuine Philippine history as the faction that capitulated to the colonizers, the Magdiwang faction of Bonifacio remained true to the spirit and sacrifice of the Philippine Revolution. Is the persistent misidentification and misrepresentation by media of the symbols of the Bagong Katipuneros deliberate?

This column has consistently and persistently used the term Bagong Katipuneros to refer to the movement of young officers that symbolizes the ferment for anti-corruption reform within the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Those who persistently use the wrong term are mostly doing it out of ignorance and the force of habit of just following the diktat of the mainstream newspapers and media, but I will not be surprised if we were to discover someday that the consistent misnaming and misrepresentation of the symbolic identity of the Bagong Katipuneros were deliberate.

The manipulation of mainstream media is not difficult, all it requires is control of a handful of editorial positions in the largest newspaper in the country (supported by the advertising revenues of the establishment corporations) and the two main TV-radio broadcast giants. But much of it begins with the mainstream print media which most of the broadcast news writers, particularly radio, just pick up first thing in the morning, condense and read as news throughout the day. Indeed, if I were a propagandist of the establishment fearful of ideas of real change, I would strike out the idea of a new Katipunan and the reincarnation of Bonifacio’s spirit and Magdiwang movement.

That 1st Lt. San Juan’s arrest is but a “small setback” to the Bagong Katipuneros’ struggle is logical, the four “liberated” young officers being very well-known now. They are actively circulating to serve as catalysts and have become propaganda figures who take a lot of risks. As we wrote before during Faeldon’s arrest there will be others to rise. The Bagong Katipuneros even let their displeasure with Faeldon surface showing that they have enough confidence to exercise discipline among their ranks, reflecting a deeper bench than expected.

The Bagong Katipuneros “sleepers” are in place, coordinated by the many means at the disposal of their comrades. Surprises like Capt. Candelaria Rivas lie in wait; they cannot lose because the young officers constitute the vast majority of the AFP and each moment of the unfolding day is theirs because of their youth. Small setbacks are of little moment in the great endeavor the Bagong Katipuneros embarked on when they chose the name of the true revolutionary movement, the Katipunan, and Bonifacio’s faction as its model.

Another info they sent through text is about the alleged “bomb” reportedly recovered at the Philippine Military Academy rites recently which was actually a DOE (Demolition, Ordnance, Explosive) kit left behind by the DOE team detailed to Baguio, “not a foiled sabotage as they claimed.” Apparently, the AFP top brass propaganda machine and Malacañang have been hatching up a lot of these psy-ops to confuse the public. How many of the “bombings” now being reported, from the “kerosene can bomb” to the pill boxes in various places are actually on GMA’s orders we can’t tell.

While the BK’s struggle for change and emancipation continues, the nation’s plight worsens. The Leyte tragedy following a long succesion of similar catastrophes highlights the “primitivization” of Philippine life. While scientific resources are within reach of every community and Filipino, resources to acquire and use them are impossible to reach. The geo-mapping of communities in landslide danger has been made, and Phivolcs director Punongbayan was martyred doing this, but now we discover that GMA had not appropriated funds for its implementation.

Meanwhile, GMA extends another P680-million tax holiday to Ayala’s Manila Water which reported earnings of P2 billion after raising water rates again and adding 2 percent to the 10-percent eVAT. And Mike Defensor sheds crocodile tears for St. Bernard?

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday to Friday 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

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