By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local (DILG) vowed to recover the children recently recruited by leftist groups.
In a recent Senate hearing, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año warned parents of the active recruitment of leftist organizations in schools and universities nationwide.
He asked the parents to be vigilant and be “involved in guarding their children since these Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs) have little to no regard for the lives of the youth.”
The DILG chief these organizations were masquerading as “progressive pro-poor organizations” when, in fact, they were front organizations or recruitment centers of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).
“These organizations are brainwashing the children and destroying the youth of our country,” he said.
Año disclosed the recruited minors were usually deployed to the mountains and they “eventually end up as casualties in the firefight between Government forces and the Communist rebels.”
“There is a violation of the law in these recruitments. Those mothers in the Senate hearing mirror the sentiments of many families who have lost sons and daughters to the bankrupt ideology of these terrorists and leftist groups,” he added.
In the recent Senate hearing, a group of mothers emotionally conveyed stories of how their children abandoned their families “for the chance to fight for the country” after being brainwashed by Leftist groups.
According to Año, there are 500 to 1000 youths being indoctrinated by the CPP-NPA every year who either become a member of the NPA or return to their respective schools as militant student leaders.
“They are using their alleged nationalism to teach children to kill and take up arms against the government,” he said.
He lamented it was unfortunate that Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act was repealed, saying these leftist groups should be banned for being subversive and illegal.
In the meantime, the PNP has already initiated the filing of cases against the front organizations identified through the Senate hearing and in the government’s own intelligence and investigations.
He added that youth recruitment of the leftist groups was only a fraction of the CTGs’ elaborate campaign to overthrow the democratic government of the Philippines through armed struggle.
The DILG head explained that such recruitments were prevalent in “white areas” or urban centers where they actively recruit new members and extort revolutionary taxes from legitimate businessmen to fund their armed rebellion in the “red areas” where they kill police officers and soldiers, government representatives, and anyone who opposes them.
He also urged local government units (LGUs) to exercise good governance to regain the people’s trust in government.
“Prioritize programs that will tackle deeply-rooted issues such as provision of adequate social services including education, and an improved quality of life for all, among others,” he says.
Partnership with schools, universities
Año said the DILG was keen on revisiting and reviewing the memorandum of agreement it has with State Universities and Colleges regarding police visibility in infiltrated schools and universities.
He insisted that, in line with the government’s “whole-of-nation-approach” in eliminating local armed conflicts as stated in Executive Order No. 70, police presence in infiltrated schools and universities could be increased to deter the recruitment program of Leftist groups.
Año noted the DILG was geared to conduct dialogues and engagements with school authorities and the student themselves “to raise awareness on modus operandi of the CPP-NPA-NDF.”