Why is Gabriela silent on grieving mothers who lost children to leftist groups?

On the recent issue of missing minors reportedly recruited by Anakbayan leftist group in various schools in Metro Manila, Gabriela women’s group remains baffling silent and refuses to take up the cudgels for grieving mothers.

This lack of response from Gabriela that claims to advocate women’s rights and welfare is dismayingly hard to understand considering that many of them are mothers themselves, said Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr. a ranking official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) and current Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations.

“Amidst this controversy on the missing children recruited by Anakbayan from schools in Manila, Gabriela is surprisingly so quiet. You are mothers too. Say something about the exploitation of these children recruited at ages 16 or even younger,” Parlade said in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency.

“You are showing your true color as allies of Anakbayan and the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) by not standing up in protest, together with the children’s grieving mothers,” Parlade said.

If Gabriela is really championing the cause of all Filipino women, then it is high time for Gabriela to stand up for 8,635 mothers grieving over the disappearance of their children so that they can all be safely returned home, Parlade said.

“You claim to defend the rights of women. What happened to you? With your timely intervention maybe you can convince your colleagues in Anakbayan and the NPA to return the children alive. It’s not too late, I hope,” Parlade said.

Relissa Lucena, the mother of Alicia Jasper, a student who went missing after being allegedly recruited by communist front groups on asserted that she has the right to be with her daughter during the recent preliminary investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) into the charges she filed against the communist front groups.

“We also have the right as parents, I have the right as mother to be with my child, but this is not what is happening. They are the ones who are in the legal profession but it seems they continue to separate us from each other,” Lucena said.

“Why don’t they imagine themselves being in my place. Their children is not with them and is talking to another person and are being used for whatever agenda,” Lucena said, as she called on Anakbayan leftist group to bring back her daughter.

Lucena claims that her minor daughter was enticed to join the communist movement a year ago when the latter was still a 17-year-old senior high school student.

Lucen and other parents of other children similarly recruited filed charges of violation of Republic Act 10364 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003; kidnapping; the laws on special protection of children in armed conflicts; and laws prohibiting child abuse.

Among the witnesses were rebel returnees Ma. Rebecca Pecayo and Edison Villanueva, who said they were recruited into the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) through initial indoctrination by front youth groups.

Parlade said the AFP and government will do everything it can to return these children safely to their loved ones and provide a better life even if they are already full-time communist rebels.

“They are just kids and they are simply victims of your exploitation. We will offer them safe-conduct passes if they reach out to the nearest parish, barangay official, school official or wherever they will feel safe,” Parlade said.

To accomplish this, Parlade made the request that militant human rights group, Karapatan, keep its hands off government efforts to recover the missing minors.

“Our only request is for Karapatan not to intervene, again, like you always do when NPAs get in trouble. Instead, we urge (Karapatan secretary general Cristina) Palabay and Karapatan to look into the summary execution of three non-combatants in Kitaotao, Bukidnon by the NPAs. The three were abducted by the NPAs in 2017 and were recently exhumed,” Parlade said.

Parlade expressed disgust that Karapatan remains mum about the extra-judicial killing of retired policeman Joel Rey Miqu Galendez, Army Sgt. Reynante Havana Espana, and tribal leader Datu Dionisio Camarullo Havana.

Parlade also lambasted members of the Makabayan bloc for not condemning these extra-judicial killings but have the temerity to complain of being “red-tagged” by the government during the budget hearings in Congress.

“It’s your act or inaction that gives away your affiliation with the Reds. It’s not us who red-tagged you,” Parlade said.

Parlade added that no one believes the fake advocates of human rights and defenders of justice.

“That is why they target our gullible children aged 13, 14 and 15. How inhumane can you be, Ms. (Sarah) Elago (Kabataan party-list representative) and Mr. (Carlos) Zarate? (Bayan Muna Party-list representative),” Parlade added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Source: Priam Nepomuceno/Christine Cudis, Philippine News Agency)

Top photo: MISSING MINORS. Parents become emotional as they tell the stories of their children, mostly senior high school and college students, who went missing and were believed recruited by leftist groups, during the Senate joint hearing presided by Senator Ronald Bato dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, and Senate Committee on National Defense and Security at the Senate in Pasay City on August 7, 2019. Photo shows Mrs. Relissa Lucena, who becomes emotional while talking about her missing daughter. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

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