Opinion Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
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Being Red not illegal, but armed rebelling is

Government must proceed with care in “crushing” the communist fronts of the “terrorist” New People’s Army. It no longer is a crime to be a communist. The repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law, R.A. 1700, saw to that. It was one of the first acts of the Ramos administration in 1992. As a result, communist sympathizers joined the “parliamentary struggle” by running for congressional seats. To a large extent, they forsook armed revolution.

Before that the Cold War-inspired law had been used to hound duly elected Communists from Congress and the academe. It took the enlightened tenure of a former military general to figure out that one cannot legislate thinking.

Today the government can ill afford to crack down on Left-thinking groups on mere suspicion of communist leanings. Such suppression would only multiply their numbers, just as stifling of Christians by the Romans only further spread the religion outside the borders.

What the government can go after are NPA rebels who actually participate in criminal acts: murder, arms procurement, kidnapping, serious illegal detention, extortion – even robbery in band of houses meant for soldiers and policemen. Those who merely advocate “to each according to his ability, to each according to his need” should be tolerated as a matter of free speech and expression. At worse they can only be called dreamers, as in John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

As for Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, the government can take action. His latest call from self-exile in The Netherlands for the NPA to slay one soldier or policeman per day can be classified as terroristic. More so since the usual targets are off-duty servicemen on the way home, or in civvies unarmed to buy food at the wet market. The foreign office can ask the Dutch government to censure and perhaps expel Sison for breaking European laws and the terms of his asylum. On the other hand, bothering with Sison might accord the ageing revolutionist undue importance.

Besides, European leaders also picture President Rodrigo Duterte as a terrorist too, because of the thousands of suspected drug pushers and users killed in his drug war.

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This travel tip, circulating on the Internet, makes good sense. It advises foreign travelers to insert their e-mail address in their passport’s address page. Here’s why, as narrated by an airport employee:

“A passenger with an American passport changed money, and in the process, forgot his passport and boarding pass on my counter. As it was placed on the side where my computer monitor blocks the view, it remained there for over 20 minutes. The next customer brought it to my attention. I went outside to search for him, to no avail.

“The passport was well worn, with numerous visas, including Japan. He had travelled from Narita to LAX. The page in the US passport where one writes the home address and third-party contact was blank. All it had was his e-mail address.

“I went online, and e-mailed him a brief message, including my phone number. He turned up about a half-hour later, profoundly grateful. He was blissfully unaware that his passport was missing. He was checking his e-mail in the cab when he saw the mail I had sent. He turned the cab around and came back to the airport to collect it.

“He works in Japan and his work permit was attached to the Japanese visa in the passport. He was in the US only for a week.

“In retrospect, it is evident that even if he had written his address in the passport, it would not have helped. Even a phone number is not much help, as a finder may not be willing to call long distance, if ‘found’ in another country.

“An e-mail, any one would send, from any place; and you can access your e-mail from anywhere in the world, when you are traveling.

“Therefore, please write your e-mail address in your passport. It can really ‘save your bacon’ someday.”

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

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