The Department of the Interior and Local (DILG) assured the parents whose children were recruited by Leftist organizations that they will help recover their children following the outcry of mothers of minors recruited by Communist organizations during a Senate hearing.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año warned parents of the active recruitment of Leftist organizations in schools and universities nationwide and said that parents must be vigilant and “involved in guarding their children since these Communist-Terrorist Groups (CTGs) have little to no regard for the lives of the youth.”
He said that these organizations are masquerading as “progressive pro-poor organizations” when in fact they are front organizations or recruitment centers of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army. “These organizations are brainwashing the children and destroying the youth of our country,” he said.
A retired former Chief of the Armed Forces, Año disclosed that the recruited minors are 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. Minors are easily lured kaya tutulungan natin ang mga magulang na ito para mabawi nila ang mga anak nila mula sa mga terorista. 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 adds.
In the recent Senate hearing, a group of mothers emotionally conveyed stories of how their child 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.
"Ang nangyayari kasi ngayon, so many schools are deeply infiltrated by the CPP-NPA through their front organizations. Ngayon itong mga rebeldeng ito ay may mga corresponding member organizations sa mga eskwelahan kaya ito yun dapat nating bantayan" he says.
He says that it is unfortunate that Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act was repealed saying these leftist groups should be banned for being subversive and illegal.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, he says, that 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 also says that youth recruitment of the leftist groups is only a fraction of the CTGs' elaborate campaign to overthrow the democratic government of the Philippines through armed struggle.
He explains that such recruitments are 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.
"It's part of their DNA to do these recruitments and unfortunately, they are able to brainwash our youth. Kaya naman let us work together so that no Filipino will again be persuaded to abandon their families," he says.
He also urged local government units (LGUs) to exercise good governance to regain people's trust in government. "Good governance is our weapon against CTGs. Ang mga isyu na malapit sa bituka ang target samantalahin ng mga CTG na ito sa kanilang recruitment. I prod LGUs to put emphasis on programs that will address these issues as this can save our country from the havoc of these communist-terrorists," he says.
"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
DILG Secretary Año says that the DILG is keen in revisiting and reviewing the memorandum of agreement with State Universities and Colleges regarding police visibility in infiltrated schools and universities.
He says 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 can be increased to deter the recruitment program of Leftist groups.
"Tandaan natin na ang laban na ito ay hindi lamang sa red area o mga probinsiya kundi pati dito sa white area o mga lungsod - sa ating mga eskwelahan, factories at iba pa - ito ang kanilang target samantalahin," Año explains.
The DILG Chief also says that the Department is geared to conduct dialogues and engagements with school authorities and the student themselves "to raise awareness on modus operandi of the CPP-NPA-NDF."
"Hindi natin sinasabi na masama ang mga student organizations, but many of them have been infiltrated already by the CPP," he adds.