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Sunday, September 22, 2019
CAGAYAN DE ORO

Masked person claims recruiting students to join rebel group

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Two masked persons who claimed to be former recruiters and members of the New People's Army (NPA) said that they had recruited several students from colleges and universities in Cagayan de Oro City to be a part of the rebel group.

A MASKED personality who claimed to be a former recruiter and member of the New People's Army (NPA) said that she had recruited several students from colleges and universities in Cagayan de Oro City to be part of the rebel group.

According to Lalaine (not her real name), some of the said colleges and universities were Cagayan de Oro College, Xavier University, Capitol University, Pilgrim Christian College, and University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines.

"Yung mga schools po na nagre-recruit ako, unang-una yung paaralan ko talaga sa Cagayan de Oro College dahil dun po ako nag-aral. Nag re-recruit din po kami sa Xavier University dito po sa Cagayan, yung Capitol University. Yung Pilgrim pinasok po namin yan kahit na mahirap. Isa lang po yung alyado, si ma'am. Tung isang teacher. Mga estudyante wala pa," she said during a special session organized by the Philippine Information Office on Friday, August 30.

Lalaine is a 33-year-old former student from Cagayan de Oro College and resident of Cagayan de Oro City.

She was with another former rebel member "Dina".

"Ang pinakamahirap po talaga na pasukin namin yung Lourdes," she added.

She also shared that they were able to get inside the aforementioned school by borrowing the uniforms from other members of the rebel group and using fake IDs.

"Sa tinud-anay, padayon pa gyud gihapon ang pag-organisa sa mga lain-laing eskwelahan, labaw na diri sa atoang rehiyon tungod kay kabahin na sya sa plano sa ginaingon namo nga IPO o Idolohiya, Politika, ug Organisasyon na kinahanglan mang recruit. Kay ang mga kabatan-onan mao na sya'y sumbanan sa mga kadre para didto sa bukid para mahimong mga kadre sa NPA or sa CPP," Lalaine said.

The rebel group, she added, had also recruited several members of various student organizations such as League of Filipino Students, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, College Editor Guild of the Philippines, Anakbayan, and Kabataan Partylist.

Brigadier General Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army's 403rd Infantry Brigade, said that he was shocked and did not expect the extent of the rebel group's recruitment of youths.

"Actually, nagulat din ako. Hindi ko rin alam na ganoon yung extent, yung degree, ng recruitment. Sila (Lalaine and Dina) ang nakapagbigay ng kasagutan na ako ngayon ko rin na-realize yun," De Leon said.

He said they are willing to send communicators or information officers to the aforementioned schools for information campaign upon request.

"Kami po ang nakikita ko, kung magre-request po yang mga eskwelahan ng public information, we are very willing to visit their schools para magkaroon ng public information. Meron naman po kaming regular na interaksyon with the various schools through the ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) program," De Leon said.

"Kung may request po yung mga schools na nabanggit, pwede po kaming magpadala ng communicators or information officers," he added.

He also said that apart from public information in schools, they have also done information campaign in the community, particularly in the rural areas.

"Sa community po, sa mga rural areas, meron po tayong community support team na patuloy na umiikot sa mga komunidad para mag-public information at magderadicalize," De Leon said.

"Kasi ang ginagawa ng NPA propagandist ay mag-radicalize kaya ang tawag nila sa mga tinuturo nila 'Araling Aktibista.' Meron silang tinuturong araling aktibista, meron silang tinuturong batakang kursong pangmasa. Pagkanatutunan po ng mga tao iyon, nagiging radical at nagrerebelde laban sa gobyerno," he added.

The commander said they are visiting communities to explain and reveal the lies of the rebel group's propaganda together with some former rebels.

"Ang ginagawa po namin, umiikot kami sa mga komunidad, pinapaliwanag namin na puro kasinungalingan yung kanilang ginagawa. At kadalasan sinasama namin ang mga dating rebelde na nagbalik loob na para sila ang nagpaliwanag kung ano yung hirap na naramdaman nila para hindi na uli maramdaman ng iba pang mamamayan," De Leon said.


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