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HomePRESS RELEASEFrom Panadlong to Pagbadlong: How the Army turned the Kilusang Pagwawasto to...

From Panadlong to Pagbadlong: How the Army turned the Kilusang Pagwawasto to Kilusang Pagtatakbo in northern Negros and why it won historic battles in the Eight-Day War

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A multi-part series

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – First it was a story. Then it became lore, like the story of demons.

How Frank Fernandez and his merry men, about 20 of them fought their way through shrub, brush and grass in the mountains of Negros Oriental to found what was then the Larangan Gerilya Uno in the 1990s as Negros Communists tried to bring back a dying movement to life.

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Now dead Communist Party founder Jose Maria Sison called it then the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) also known as Kilusang Pagwawasto also known as the Kahublagan Panadlong in Hiligaynon-speaking areas in the Visayas.

But to cut this story short, the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion had just won historic battles in the Eight-Day War in Escalante City, not just tactical victories of scoring three, perhaps, five, rebel kills or seizing 20 firearms but nipping in the bud a strategic move of the CPP that has now embarked on a so-called “Third Rectification Movement” amid its downward spiral in the island and elsewhere in the country.

“Palaga naman iyan (that happens often) but where has it brought them,” Leonardo Pena, the assistant division commander of the Army’s Third Infantry Division told reporters here recently.

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Pena, a brigadier general who used to head the 302nd Infantry Brigade based in Negros Oriental province, is no stranger to the Communist insurgency.

He knows that in its more than 50 years of so-called national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective, the Communists have launched at least three major rectification movements.

These include the first one when Sison “reestablished” the CPP, then known as the Partido ng Komunista ng Pilipinas renamed to the hippy-sounding CPP while the remnants of the Hukbong Magpapalaya sa Bayan (Hukbalahap) became the New People’s Army (NPA).

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Some former senior cadres of the CPP here told DNX the supposed rectification movements were sparked by power grabs within the CPP – the first in 1968 when Joma led the coup to topple CPP founders Luis Taruc and Jose Lava.

The second one in the 1990s looked like Joma getting a dose of his own medicine when he lost control of Party leadership to what he labelled as ‘rejectionists.’

Then, as in now, these movements were all launched and justified in fancy terms to “criticize, repudiate and rectify the major ideological, political and organizational errors and weaknesses.”

In short, the Party leaders made mistakes and want to look for others to blame, one former senior cadre deployed to do urban work in what is now known as Communist Front Organizations (CFO) tells DNX.

Viewed from a different angle, it could also be a way for the “reaffirmists” or those who sided with Joma to hide the causes why millions of money were lost and to whose pockets really went, a former military intelligence officer on the other hand told this reporter.

Reports (not on DNX) say the self-styled Maoist rebels are launching a Third Rectification Movement to revive what has been called a “dying” organization bereft of leaders and a thinning pool of cadres and an armed force constantly being whittled down by Army combat victories.

“We are now at the endgame,” Armed Forces Visayas Command chief, Lieutenant General Benedict Arevalo, told reporters but cautioned against complacency as he agreed with observations that the clearing of areas from rebel influence is usually the most critical part.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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