Latest Stories


Why the NPA has many supporters


The New People’s Army (NPA) reminds us of the various guerrilla forces during World War II which controlled areas beyond the reach of the  Japanese soldiers.

Japanese troops who ventured into or got lost in places controlled by the guerrillas were decimated in many ambush incidents.

These Japanese soldiers have now been replaced by government troops who are at the mercy of the NPA when they venture into places considered “no man’s land.”

That’s why in NPA parlance, government soldiers are referred to as “Hapon” or Japanese soldiers.

The reason for the misnomer is psychological: NPA rebels are conditioned to believe that government soldiers are enemies of the people in the same way that Japanese troops were.

* * *

There is a semblance of truth to the “Hapon” tag.

During the martial law years, some troops on patrol in the hinterlands either abused the hospitality of barrio folk or hurt people they suspected of aiding the rebels.

The most notorious of the government soldiers in the past belonged to the defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC) battalions.

These soldiers were called “peste first” battalion or “peste second” battalion, a play on words for the 51st and 52nd PC Batallions. Peste is the Filipino word for pest or plague.

It is said that when those notorious battalions swept through a village, their members foraged for food by shooting pigs, chickens and goats belonging to the simple folk.

In contrast, NPA rebels who came to the same areas after the peste battalions left paid for their food.

Now, you know why people in the hinterlands sympathize or support the NPA: Their minds had been conditioned to believe that government troops are still abusive.

However, soldiers who abuse civilians now are dealt with severely.

But the scars inflicted by abusive soldiers on civilians during the martial law period remain.

* * *

A Metro Manila mayor got into an argument with an Arab resident over parking space and is now using his power to deport the Arab.

I learned that the Arab had already apologized profusely to the mayor for the incident, which was caused by his police bodyguards, but the official can’t be appeased.

Why can’t the mayor forgive when the Arab is very contrite?

The incident is but a minor one and the mayor shouldn’t lose sleep over it. If his ego, which is as big as his city hall, was hurt by the incident, so was the Arab’s, who is probably just as egoistic.

Why is it that people who are small in size have giant egos?

* * *

The Arab, a long-time resident of the country, is a businessman who employs more than 1,000 Filipinos in his company.

If the Arab is deported as a result of that incident, 1,000 Filipinos will lose their jobs.  Other foreign investors will be scared of coming to the country.

We will then be no better than most abusive Arabs who treat foreigners shabbily in their countries.

* * *

The arrogant mayor should be reminded that power is only temporary.

I still remember the poster inside the office of a police general during martial law years which read, “Sic transit gloria mundi (The glory of the world is temporary).”

The Marcoses, who thought they would be in power for the rest of their lives, realized that after the Edsa Revolution.

Another saying that the mayor should take to heart: He who climbs the highest pole will soon have the loudest fall.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: column , Metro , NPA , Ramon Tulfo

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  3. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  4. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  9. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Mixed feelings for Gabriel Garcia Marquez in hometown
  • Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  • Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’–report
  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Sports

  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • Marketplace