Speech: peace and order and national security
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen of the Convention:
I welcome the opportunity to be able to speak to you this afternoon on certain fundamental questions that concern us all: peace and order and national security. These abstract ideas about good government are so connected that I can talk about them together.
However, before touching the subjects, I would like to give you a picture of the Philippines and her people immediately after the liberation. As we travelled throughout the Philippines, we saw almost complete devastation of our civilization and the destruction of mankind. We met people from different walks of life. Generally, they were physically weak and hungry but with grim faces to show their invincible spirit; some were putting up their small houses; some were building their houses; some were engaged in business; some had gone back to their farms and other industries; some were going from place to place in search of their brothers and sisters who had disappeared from their homes during those dark days of the enemy occupation; some were putting up white crosses over the graves of their fallen brothers and comrades-in-arms; and some were dedicating to make a living. In general, the morale fiber of our people was very low.
Then they turn our minds to contemplating the peace for which thousands of our brothers gave up their lives. What a joyous blessing, indeed, was peace. They turned their hearts to our creator and thanked him for such a joyous blessing.
Here and there and everywhere, they breathed the air of freedom, which was vitalized by the nourishing sustenance of democracy. The land was there again for everyone to till and enjoy the fruits thereof. The seas were there again, and the thousands of species of fish with which Divine Providence had so abundantly supplied them. The intellect was there again to learn and enjoy our new-found freedom. The spirit expanded unrestrained by chains of fear and ignorance. The heart rejoiced in equality; the equality of meaning before a just law and a country of equal opportunity for all.
Such was the picture of the Philippines and our people after the smoke of guns had disappeared and the dust and mud had settled down. There was then peace, which everybody enjoyed.
And yet, Gentlemen of the Convention, you have heard the speech of His Excellency, the President, at the opening of this convention. He brought to our attention the present unpeaceful conditions in Central Luzon. He informed us that these dissident elements are fighting the forces of law and order. He informed us that the government has done its best and has exhausted all means by which peace and order could be established again. He brought to our attention the government’s program for social amelioration, and the execution of this program is going on. He informed us that he had given amnesty to all dissident elements for the sake of peace and order.
But there was no peace. The dissident elements reorganized themselves and reformed to renew their hostilities towards the government. You hear now and then of people, rich and poor, being kidnapped, murdered, and robbed of their belongings, and now and then you hear of clashes between the dissidents and the forces of law and peace.
What made the dissident elements refuse to take advantage of the amnesty? We discovered in documents that the organization headed by Taruc is a communist organization, and Taruc so declared himself openly a communist. This group has already set up its own communist government, and its goal is to get rid of our democratic government.
You have heard the speech of Speaker Perez. He described to you what communism is, and he told you the effects of communism on our present civilization, religion, and system of government. His warning is surely food for thought.
While peace and order are the concern of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, yet, when disorder is spread and committed on a large scale, my Department will be called upon to cope with the situation. At present, we are not using the Armed Forces of the Republic yet, but when the security and integrity of this country are threatened and His Excellency, the President, proclaims the existence of a state of emergency, the Armed Forces of the Republic will be thrown into the field.
Self-defense is the first law of a nation as well as of an individual. Based on this basic law, the wise people who wrote our constitution thought that the most important job of the government was to protect the country.
Article 2, Section 2, of our constitution provides that the defense of a state is the prime duty of the government, and in the fulfilment of this duty, all citizens may be required by law to render personal, military, or civil service. To implement this portion of the constitution, the National Assembly enacted a law known as the National Defense Act. The law states that the preservation of the state is the obligation of every citizen. The security of the Philippines and freedom and perpetual neutrality shall be guaranteed by the employment of all citizens without distinction of age, sex, or resources.
Gentlemen of the Convention, your duty in the defense of our country consists of the recruitment and mobilization of manpower. I need not put more emphasis on the importance of your duty for obvious reasons. If you fail to notify on time and see that those reserves residing in your respective provinces report at the point required by orders, you fail on your duty, and such failure may cause our defeat.
You are all aware of the fact that world peace is at stake, that the world is again threatened by war, this time by the very destruction of humanity and civilization. Look around us in China, Burman, India, and the East Indies, Korea. All of them are neighbors and we find them all seething with unrest, engaged in fratricidal strife due to the existence of opposing ideologies which are engaged in a bitter fight for the supremacy of their philosophies.
Then cast your eyes to Europe and you will find that the situation in Berlin is almost at the breaking point; Palestine and Greece are also in the same condition.
Under the present condition, it is the program of this government to first eradicate evil from within before it gains time.
It is surely a pleasure to mention here that the provincial governors of the troubled areas were soldiers who fought during the war and continued the fight during the resistance movement. These are: Governor Chioco of Nueva Ecija, Governor Lopez of Tarlac, and Governor Lingad of Pampanga. These governors fought during the war for what? for peace, freedom, and democracy. And it would be a cruel irony if these governors did not fight again for the same principle for which thousands upon thousands of our comrades gave their lives. I treasure the memory of this moment, and I will surely cherish it even more when this august body achieves the two watchwords of His Excellency, the President of the Philippines: maintaining peace and order in their respective provinces and restoring people's trust in the government.