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‘Red October’? People just want gov’t action on prices


“RED October” was a hot topic for a while after some officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it was a move to oust President Duterte sometime between October 11 and October 17. It was claimed to be a plot of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) working with leftist groups, one high AFP official said, and some political groups apparently took advantage of the story to link some opposition leaders to the alleged plot.

Every year at about this time, as the founding anniversary of the CPP and its military arm, the New People’s Army (NPA) in December approaches, the AFP goes on alert against raids carried out in various remote regions of the country. Las year, there was an alert for Septem­ber. This year, it seems to have been moved to October, probably because of the growing economic difficulties in the country caused by fast-rising prices.

Thus was born “Red October,” named after a popular novel “Hunt for Red October,” about a Soviet submarine and its crew which succeeded in escaping to the United States, despite all efforts to stop it. Some of our politicians thought of linking some opposition senators to it. Others sought to discourage protest demonstrations against rising prices by linking them to “Red October.”

Last week, during the Senate hearing on Tuesday on the Department of National De­fense’s budget for 2019, the AFP’s chief of staff, Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said “Red October” was a destabilization plot of the CPP-NPA with efforts to recruit supporters on several univer­sity campuses and with NPA attacks in the countryside. But, he told Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the other senators, that there was no CPP-NPA coalition with the political opposition, as earlier claimed by some AFP officials.

It is indeed a fact that the CPP-NPA is out to oust President Duterte. It is out to oust the entire Philippine system of government and install its own. This has been its goal for several decades now. Other Communist movements in other parts of the world, notably in Russia and Eastern Europe, have given up their efforts to take over through military means. For a while the Duterte administration thought it could convince the CPP-NPA to give up its hard-line goal and work out its desired reforms within the government, but the talks have bogged down.

There is indeed mounting dissatisfaction among the people, because of the high prices of consumer goods at a time of great unemployment, but it is not directed at ousting President Duterte. It only wants some effective government action to stop the rising prices and bring them back down, so they can go on with their lives.