CPP’s 2nd Congress: My Thoughts

August 14, 2017

The biggest story to come out from the underground is the successful holding by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) of its second congress in 2016. The first congress, as we all know was held eons ago, or when the party was founded in 1968. That congress laid down the ideological foundation of the revolution and elected members of the Central Committee, with Jose Ma. Sison (a.k.a. Amado Guerrero) as founding chairman. Consider that the party will be celebrating its 50th year of existence next year and you will realize how long since the first congress was held. In the intervening years, many central committee members either were martyred, arrested or laid low.

While the holding of the second congress is most welcome, I still believe that it should have been held in the late ’80s before the party split into the Reaffirm and Reject factions. That was the time when new ideas from “ideologue-cadres” surfaced, or when a “hundred schools of thought” contended, sort of, after the Marcos regime was toppled and the party failed to capitalize fully on the 1986 Edsa people power uprising. I read the “Communique  of the Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines” published in the website Philippine Revolution Web Central and I noticed nothing earth-shaking in its content except for the replenishment of the Central Committee membership with the introduction of the proverbial young blood.

This is because the congress was held around two decades after the Reaffirmists succeeded in fending off the challenge of the Rejectionists and “reaffirmed” its adherence to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the ideological foundation of the revolution. It was not surprising that the congress would reflect that adherence and come up only with peripheral changes to answer minor needs. Even the claim of “presenting a clearer picture” of the revolution’s strategy and tactics can only be a reaffirmation of the old one considering how repetitive CPP’s stand is on many issues. But the congress did consolidate the party’s gains after the tumultuous split and expresses its readiness to continue the struggle in the decades to come up.

The biggest achievement of that congress is, of course, the strengthening of its leadership. The election of new Central Committee members, half of which are “young and middle-aged cadres” means that the days of having the party run either by remnants of the Central Committee elected in 1968 or their appointees is over. That I think is the context of the resolution giving “highest honors” to Sison for his “immense contribution to the Philippine revolution.” While Sison still leads the revolution in spirit, the actual running of the party is now in the hands of the new party Central Committee, Political Bureau and Secretariat. Let us see how the new leadership will fare amidst the challenges of continuing the revolution in a different milieu from the ones prevailing in the late ’60s, under the Marcos dictatorship from 1972 to the 1986 Edsa uprising, and the tumultuous ’90s.–August 14, 2017

PHOTO: from the Philippine Revolution Web Central wbsite

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Will This Be for Keeps?

August 14, 2017

I’m reactivating–again–this site after a short talk with my son and my wife, both of whom wanted me to open a Facebook page where I can post my SunStar Cebu columns and other views. I told them I have a blog and they mocked me because I haven’t been posting anything here in a while.

I am in the process of creating an FB page, but I will be using this blog to post anything, then post these on the FB page that I will be creating. Quite a plan. But will it be for keeps? I don’t know. Time will tell.


Meeting Harry Fenton’s Kin: Dirk Barreveld letter

March 20, 2015

Here’s another letter from Dirk Barreveld, an update on his upcoming book on the Cebu World War II guerrillas. There are interesting infos here. I received this on March 16, 2015:

“Thanks for the nice piece last December about my Cushing-book. The book comes out on May 19, 2015 in the US and in Europe and on May 28 in Australia. You can find details about the book on the website www.cushings-coup.com.

“Recently I came across some information I am sure you are interested in. You know if you write a book and it is finished it does not mean the story ends there. Often information keeps on dripping in long after you did cut off your investigation.

 “During Christmas I had a few discussions with Steve Trent Smith, the author of “The Rescue.” I am sure you know the book. I know Steve for long. He brought me into contact with Anna Pearman. Anna is the daughter of Betsy, the wife of the late Harry Fenton (Aaron Feinstein). The former co-commander of the Cebu Area Command. In other words she is the step-daughter of Harry Fenton.

 “Betsy married Harry in 1939. They had two sons Steve and David. At the time of Harry’s execution (1943) Betsy and her two sons were prisoners of the Japanese. The ended up in Santo Tomas internment camp. They survived the war and Betsy remarried in 1945 an American sailor by the name of Pearman. They moved to the US where Anna was born. Betsy passed away in 2010, she was in her nineties. David died last year, but Steve is still alive.

 “Harry’s grandparents arrived from Polish Russia in the late-1800’s. His father was a milliner in Schenectady. Harry graduated from Schenectady High in 1925. He was very active in music, singing, oration, and theatrics in high school and college. He was also a record-setting sprinter on the college track team. Harry attended three years of medical school in Ireland, before quitting in 1934. At some point he enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was sent to the Philippines. He became a popular radio announcer in Manila. In 1939 he married Betty. In 1940 he moved to Cebu.

 Some of Frank Cushing’s family is living on Guam. A son of Charlie Cushing lives in Chicago. I think one of the most interesting of the brothers was the heroic, dashing Walter, about whom little has been written. I could not find any trace of him (so far).

“All this information is not in my book, I was not aware of it during writing.”


Dirk Barreveld on James Cushing, First Letter

March 20, 2015

Dirk Barreveld is a former professor at the University of San Carlos in Cebu and once wrote for Sun.Star Cebu where I am working. He wrote to me late last year to inform me about the book on the Cebu guerrilla’s struggle in World War II. I wrote about the Cebu guerrillas when I was with The Freeman in the ’90s. Here’s Dirk’s letter:

“My name is Dirk Jan Barreveld. I used to live and work in Cebu from 1987 until 2002. That was in the Sun.Star  time of Reina Bernaldez and (Wilfredo) Veloso. Most probably we met, but to be honest I do not remember. I was involved in the Mactan International Airport renovation and reconstruction project and at the same time Professor in Economic Science at the San Carlos University. I had my own column on the Sun.Star Cebu business page for many years.

“You wrote a number of articles about Col. James M. Cushing. Well, I just finished a book about Cushing and his World War II struggles with the Japanese and his capturing of Admiral Fukudome. The book will come out next March or April under the title: Cushing’s Coup: The True Story of How Lt. Col. James M. Cushing and His Filipino Guerrillas Captured a Japanese Admiral and Changed the Course of the Pacific War. It will be published by the American publishing house Casemate Publishers.

“For Cebu it will be a major chance to be put on the world map.”

 


Edsa 1 Not a Beginning

February 27, 2013

COMMEMORATING Edsa 1, or the first People Power uprising, always generates conflicting views instead of just being remembered as our best moment as a people. Two points there: repetitiveness and politics.
The date the uprising broke out surfaces once every year, and the number of times its narrative has been retold, including this year, a total of 26 times already. There have been attempts to present different angles and provide the narrative with additional details, but the repetitiveness in rituals invites the feeling of monotony in some people.
Also, the uprising was mainly a political act, thus it has been viewed using different politically colored lenses.
The general view of the uprising has shifted with the pendulum-like swing in the political standpoint of the majority. Progressive thought permeated in the few years after the uprising, thus the good vibes Edsa 1 generated. The shift to a moderate and even conservative stance (punctuated by the reacquisition of political influence by the Marcoses) has prompted a reinterpretation, even revision, of the Edsa 1 narrative.
Relative to this is the use of Edsa as a marker from where the country’s march to the present is being viewed and assessed. The tendency is to attribute the success or failings of the country post-Edsa to the realization or non-realization of the uprising’s supposed goals.
Perhaps, Edsa would be better viewed as the culmination of a struggle and not as a beginning of a process. A big chunk of those who joined the uprising did so because they wanted to topple the “hated” dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. They might have seen the outline of a democracy restored, but it was secondary to the main goal.
Edsa 1 was mainly about the toppling of a dictatorship. In this sense, it should be celebrated in a positive light, as a success.
This is what makes the remembrance relevant. As for how the democracy and the country was rebuilt after that, or what happened to this country almost three decades after Edsa, that can be considered a separate and continuing narrative whose end we still have to see.
Edsa 1 was the culmination of a process. The new process it ushered, that of making democracy work fully, is up to us and the coming generations to bring into a successful conclusion.

(I wrote this for Sun.Star Cebu (Editorial, Feb. 27, 2013)


While I Was Sleeping

June 4, 2010

The problem with taking a respite from the task of updating this blog is that a stupid comment poster takes over. As I said before, I want the sharing of ideas in this blog to be on the level. Yet there is this virus who insist on introducing garbage comments and childish ranting in this site. Kapoy ra bag delete aning baho nga basura.

I understand that some comment posters are interested in my article about World War II. Those who are asking me about certain personalities and places (Hill 22?), sorry but I am not an expert in these matters. You can check with the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos if you are in Cebu.

It’s good that relatives of the late mayor and poet Rene Amper are posting comments in the article I wrote about his death. Through it, we have been enlightened about the man’s life. I hope relatives of the other late poet, Temistokles Adlawan, will also find time to comment.

I have returned. Hopefully I can post new articles and materials soon.


Cerge Remonde

January 28, 2010

A few months before I married Edizza in 1999, I met Joy, a Cerge Remonde relative and former dyLA secretary. “Niingon to si Cerge nga masuko siya kun dili nimo siya himoong ninong sa kasal,” she said. Actually, we had considered him as our wedding sponsor even without the reminder. But that was typical Cerge,

Cerge wasn’t in Malacañang yet at that time but he was busy with his work and other activities that went with his being a popular broadcaster and media leader. Besides, the wedding date, Dec. 18, was too close to his birthday, Dec. 21. So while we didn’t expect him to be there at the wedding, we listed him as one of the sponsors nevertheless.

Indeed, we didn’t see Cerge’s shadow during the ceremony, but I was surprised when he did pass by at the reception that was held at the back of the church in Sitio Laray, Barangay San Roque, Talisay. He was smiling when he shook our hands. “Tan-awa, di ba niari gyod ko,” he said, obviously proud of what he did. Again typical Cerge,

I first met Cerge when I decided to go back to society’s mainstream after months of “rehabilitation” in the early ‘90s. I was in need of work but was an undergrad. I had worked part-time in dyLA before and had trained at the then Broadcast Production and Training Center. I thought I had a chance of landing a job if I applied in that radio station.

DyLA then could be described as a Cerge Remonde-Leo Lastimosa organization. Cerge was the manager and popular radio commentator while Leo was the news director and popular broadcast journalist. Both were intimidating to a work applicant like me. Besides, Cerge had gained a reputation as leader of the anti-communist movement.

When I went to the radio station, I therefore made sure I brought with me a note from a military official vouching for my “rehab.” Cerge read the note then referred me to Leo. I actually expected the cold treatment. Fortunately, Leo was more accommodating and recommended that I start work immediately. That jump-started my media career.

I didn’t know that it was the waning weeks of the Cerge-Leo partnership. Just when I was transferred from desk work to the field as City Hall beat reporter in 1991, Leo would be “pirated” by dyRF, leaving Cerge to scramble in looking for a replacement. And weeks after I was designated as news director, Cerge himself left to join politics.

That also marked the beginning of the end of my stint in dyLA. Cerge ran for the congressional post in Cebu City’s north district against the formidable Raul del Mar in 1992. That meant an OIC had to take over as station manager. When Cerge lost his bid, he was not allowed to go back to his dyLA job but was instead assigned to Manila.

Meanwhile, the OIC initiated changes that tended to scuttle dyLA’s reputation as news and public affairs station. Threats of retrenchment followed. I stood by the reporters and vowed to resign if any one of them was fired. When Cerge visited Cebu, he told us to stay put because he was finding ways to return as station manager. But things came to a head fast. I was eventually forced to quit.

When Cerge stood as sponsor in my wedding, memories of my foray into broadcast journalism were receding. I also met him only in rare instances. The linkage would continue to weaken, especially during his stint in Malacañang. But that did not mean my appreciation of him had been scuttled. Reports of his passing yesterday therefore saddened me. May he rest in peace.
(This came out in my January 20, 2010 “Candid Thoughts” column in Sun.Star Cebu)