Sun.Star Cebu

Of rebels, 2

- ORLANDO P. CARVAJAL carvycarva­

There is another reason why the military should be circumspec­t about monitoring students. Not all rebels are of the extreme-left or communist variety. We certainly do not want the results of police monitoring to be as chillingly deadly as the Marcos military’s witch hunt that presumed all rebels to be communists.

There have always been men and women of all ages and of varying religious conviction­s who advocated for social justice from a motive of simply trying to flesh out their faith in a loving, just, and peaceful God.

A group of us recently got together when a member of our Martial Law days’ youth group flew in from the U.S. after a very long absence. KASK (Kalihukan Alang Sa Katarungan) was an organizati­on of students, mostly from St. Theresa’s College and the University of San Carlos. They headquarte­red at the Cebu Archdioces­an Social Action Center (CASAC) where I was assistant Executive Secretary.

At this reunion we recalled our non-violent protest-actions on the plight of the sacadas in Bais, the tenants of Hacienda Osmeña in Carcar and the members of OPRRA (Old Philippine Railway Residents Associatio­n) that have since been relocated to where they are now.

We remember being despised as clerico-fascists by student leaders of communist front organizati­ons like Kabataang Makabayan. We were really caught in between because at the same time we were being rejected by mainstream Catholic clergy and faithful as suspected communists because of our pro-labor, pro-farmer posture on the burning social issues of the day. Hence, as we also recalled, when Martial Law was declared some of us were immediatel­y arrested, accused communists.

At our impromptu reunion, we were happy to learn that “we never said goodbye.” We not only survived the horrors of Martial Law but we also stayed the course and remained true to our faith-based commitment to work for social justice and human rights. Most everybody in the group was either promoting natural farming to small farmers or organizing urban informal settlers or working to rescue commercial­ly and sexually exploited minors, or exerting other similar efforts that give meaning to their Christian faith.

Inevitably we got around to asking what happened to those who looked down on us as clerico-fascists. We refrained from further comment when we learned that a number of them have gone to the right, to the side of capitalist­s, landlords, and politician­s.

There are rebels and there are rebels. It will be a mistake for the PNP to think they can prevent the youth from following Marx, Engels and Mao if self-styled Jesus-followers in government, business, and Church do nothing to change the people’s condition of abject poverty.

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