MANILA -- While citing that is artistically impressive, the mural depicting efforts of indigenous peoples (IPs) to survive despite the alleged violence caused by the invasion of military troops is just part of the lies and propaganda being disseminated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) and its allies.
This was the reaction of Major Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), to the "Bakwit" mural painted by artist Archie Oclos on the wall of a 14-storey building in Malate, Manila.
"Art is a perfect medium for sending messages. It can capture images of places many of us have no chance of ever visiting, of people we have no chance of ever meeting. An artist's interpretation of the place and people whose images he or she captures can also affect the message and how viewers understand the artwork," he said in a statement Wednesday.
'Art' of deception
While lauding Oclos for his passion, dedication and the risk the artist undertook in scaling and completing his mural, Parlade said the artwork is deceptive as it is part of the communist rebels propaganda to recruit additional cadres and paint a very different version of the government and the military.
"But for those who are informed and knows the workings of the Communist Party of the Philippines, that artwork is deceptive, especially with those text scribbled at the bottom. It is propaganda, plain and simple," the NTF-ELCAC official stressed.
He added that sowing lies and deception are easy for the CPP and the National Democratic Front (NDF) as they have been practicing these for the past 50 years.
"After 50 years they have perfected this art and have deceived us in many ways. As a result they have effectively infiltrated our ranks without us knowing it. Now they appear dressed in religious garb and pretend to be rural missionaries, some as religious brothers. In reality they are working for the destruction of the church (they are God-less, by the way) and are destroying our children in these schools called Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, Inc. (ALCADEV) and Salugpungan," said Parlade, who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deputy chief-of-staff for civil-military operation.
He also scored the CPP-NPA and its allies for representing themselves as human rights advocates and defenders of the poor but all they do is defend the rights of communist terrorists who have been killing IPs and hapless civilians not inclined to support their cause.
"They introduce themselves as progressive groups advocating 'Save Our Schools', but are in fact using this as a smear campaign to vilify government forces trying to prevent more killings by their NPA conduits. They introduce themselves as makabayan (patriotic) when all they do is rally in the streets, shoo away investors, recruit more children to become fighters, threaten businesses who do not pay their extortion demand, radicalize teachers to push their students to the streets and eventually to the hills," he added.
In the case of a talented artist like Oclos, Parlade said these individuals are encouraged to paint the alleged dire situation of the IPs once they are enticed to join CPP-legal front organizations like "ARTISTA" (Artista at Teatro para sa Sining ng Bayan) and "KARATULA".
"Oclos is lucky if he is not yet a member of the underground mass organization of 'ARTISTA' which is 'ARMAS' (Artista at Manunulat ng Sambayanan), in which in case he could be a full-time CPP cadre already. In any case, scaling the mountains as a CPP-NPA cadre should not be a difficult task for him anymore," he added.
Parlade said the story depicted by the mural as "sublime" but debasing as it tells lies about the fabricated and exaggerated AFP human rights abuses considering that the military has no record of human rights abuse for the past several years.
"Stealing chickens may have happened during the Martial Law years but it is now 2019 and the AFP has zero human rights abuses for the last several years. They buy their chicken in Jollibee, and give some to our Manobo brothers. This is the same story they peddle, in Europe and UN, through CPP-front organizations like Ibon Foundation and Karapatan," he said.
The mural's subtle message, he said, is to arouse the sentiment of the youth and used that anger in mobilizing them to fight against the government
"How many more artworks will they create, not simply for art's sake but for the purpose of AROUSING the sentiments of the youth and the innocent, using false narratives such as this. What will follow is ORGANIZING them into progressive allies, and finally MOBILIZING them to fight their government. Three important operative words that all communists propagandists use to destroy our society: Arouse, Organize, and Mobilize," he said.
Parlade also explained what "bakwit" (evacuees) really means for the CPP-NPA is merely a tactic they employ to disrupt and derail government interventions and development programs in the IP communities which they have converted as their guerrilla bases.
"This is the story of the CPP's artificial hamlet in the Haran Compound in Davao City. The testimony of the recent Haran Lumad escapees are glaring evidence of this deception of the CPP and its front NGOs which have been collecting millions of Euros from unsuspecting donors in Europe," the military official stressed.
Killing also became rampant among Manobos and IPs as trespassing CPP-NPA cadres have destroyed the cultural fabric of these communities.
"They have totally disregarded the norms and values, subverting their Bagani defense system, recruiting their leaders to fight those who would not support the CPP cause, radicalizing students of the AlCADEV and the Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao Del Sur (TRIFPSS), until the children would end up fighting and killing their elders. Emerito Samarca, the ALCADEV Director and Secretary of the CPP's Regional White Area Committee, who is in charge of infiltrating and organizing front organizations for the CPP, would have suffered the wrath of the IPs he have duped," he added.
Parlade also dismissed Oclos' claims that he got his inspiration after meeting and hearing stories from IPs in Mindanao who have allegedly experienced violence in the hands of the military.
"It is now 2019 and just recently last May 15, 2019, Edward Gultia, a former NPA and teacher of TRIFPSS for 19 years surrendered to the government and revealed that the school is indeed run by the NPAs. Jomar Bocales, municipal tribal chief of Lianga, Surigao Del Sur, and Rico Maca, IPMR (Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative) of San Miguel, Surigao Del Sur would reveal the same about the TRIFPSS and ALCADEV," he added.
Parlade also appealed to the media to help them in educating the public about the truth regarding the lies and deception being spread by the CPP-NPA and its allies.
He said communist rebels, for the past 50 years, have proven very skillful in using "press freedom" in fomenting rebellion as proven by the countless numbers of artists, lawyers, and youth recruited in their cause.
"How many more of our artist will be fooled by these commies. How many more of our lawyers will join NUPL in the belief that they are serving poor clients? How many more of our young will end up the mountains for sympathizing in this lost and futile cause of the CPP? How many more are joining Kabataang Makabayan and end up getting killed with the NPAs?" he added.
Appeal to media
Parlade also appealed to the media for its assistance in exposing the deception and lies of the CPP-NPA and its allies so that the insurgency threat can be finally beaten and peace and prosperity can reign in the country.
"(The) media is a very important partner in nation building, We pray that you will be enlightened in educating our people of the TRUTH and nothing else. It is all the NTF-ELCAC is asking. Just share the truth so we will spare our children from more violence. In the spirit of objectivity, fairness and impartiality we hope that you will all help in breaking the duality, duplicity and deception of these communist terrorists, so that, once and for all, we would enjoy peace and progress," he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency