Tell it to SunStar: Why the youth still choose activism

AFTER declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations last year, the Philippine Government is now going after youth organizations. They are brandishing terror to families and their children, taking the spotlight in “reuniting families” when they are the ones destroying it.

On Aug. 7, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa vowed to “clamp down” all leftist groups recruiting minors to be part of their activities and as members and fighters. They narrowed this down to Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students and Kabataan Party-list.

Dela Rosa now chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. It is not only ironic but is also utterly disgusting and downright preposterous.

In his words, minors joining so-called leftist groups are worse than drug addicts. Bato says that drug addicts can be rehabilitated. Is he just a complete idiot or do the Filipino people need to remind him that he is the architect behind the death of more than 30,000 lives?

Bato says that he wants “to know the real score in order to ferret out the truth.” Well here’s the truth: the tyrannical and murderous regime is the one creating its enemies. The real score is in the blood in your hands.

The military and the police preyed upon problems faced between youth activists and their families. While these are serious concerns, they ensured that this will prosper and develop following President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 in 2018 establishing a whole of nation approach in ending the local communist armed conflict through a national task force.

We will never forget the names Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, and their mothers Concepcion and Erlinda, who fought for their daughters until the end. Army officials were found guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention over the two students’ enforced disappearance. Karen and Sherlyn were also accused as members of the CPP. This government tore their families and they did not have even an ounce of regret.

We also need to retell the story of Mark Welson Chua’s murder by his fellow cadet officers which sprung from the mercenary traditions of the Philippine military taught under the Reserve Officers’ Training Program.

What needs to be addressed is why thousands and thousands of youth find the path of activism justified. But we know why the military, the police, and the government will never address this. It is because they are the purveyor of the economic and human rights crisis in the country. They waged a war against the poor and claimed thousands of innocent lives. This is why the youth’s patriotism will never be quelled for we continue to embrace the struggle of workers, peasants and other sectors of the society. Outside learning institutions, we have learned to relate our struggle to the struggle of the exploited masses, especially of the workers and peasants.


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