Anti-communist groups and other civil society organizations on November 24, 2020, called on party-list groups allegedly identified as having links with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), to put an end to the recruitment of the youth and stop urging student-activists to join their deceptive cause.
Members of the League of Parents in the Philippines (LPP), Liga Independencia Pilipinas (LIPI), Yakap ng Magulang, and Hands Off Our Children, alongside parents of student activists who were reportedly recruited by various progressive groups, have gathered outside the Senate as they denounced the atrocities and deceptive recruitment schemes committed by the communist rebel groups and its allied legal front organizations.
While welcoming the Senate hearing regarding the issue of “red-tagging” allegations against the members of the Makabayan bloc, the anti-communist groups have thrown support to the representatives of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) who attended the probe, saying “they are the truth taggers”.
Remy Rosadio, the LPP chairperson, said if not for NTF-ELCAC, their calls to halt the recruitment of the communists among youth would never be heard.
“They represent us, the voices of the grieving parents who lost their children because of the communist movements,” said Rosadio.
Rosadio reiterated the communist-linked organizations are allegedly maneuvering fraudulent tactics to recruit more minors to be part of the armed movement.
Relentless to their call to end communist terrorism, the anti-communist groups railed against the “continuous indoctrination of wrong ideologies” to minors and exploiting them to join the NPA.
During the protest, Julius Ursua, LPP and LIPI member, said their groups would never stop calling out the communist rebels for their violence, abuses, and deceitful youth recruitment.
“Ang mga magulang po ay hindi magsasawa at hindi titigil. Handa po kaming ibuwis ang aming mga buhay sa kapakanan ng pamilyang Pilipino (These parents will never be tired and we will never stop. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for the sake of the Filipino families),” Ursua said.
He then urged Joma Sison to stop using the youth in the communist armed movement and end all their inhumane activities.
“Maawa ka sa taumbayan, maawa ka sa mga kabataan na ginagamit mo bilang child warrior para mapabagsak ang gobyerno (Have mercy on the people, have mercy on youth for exploiting them as child warriors to overthrow the government),” he added.
The anti-communist groups also protested against the 52 years of insurgencies, maltreatment, and inhumane abuses of the NPA cadres against their members, particularly the newly recruited youth women.
Meanwhile, LIPI member, Dario Sandoval urged the government to stop all the people “behind the progressive movement” who bring minors into the mountains and engage with armed insurgencies.
Elvie Caalaman, along with other Hands Off Our Children members, meanwhile, shared how their children were recruited into progressive groups of the Makabayan bloc and eventually gone missing for years.
Caalaman also exposed various deceptive recruitment processes going on within the structure of the progressive organizations including Kabataan party-list, League of Filipino Students (LFS), and Anakbayan.
“Kung tunay kayong makabayan, ibalik niyo ang mga anak namin. Iilan lamang ‘to sa mga kabataang nawawala na pagkatapos maging aktibista ay umakyat sa kabundukan para humawak ng armas (If you are truly patriotic, bring our children back. These are just a few of many activists who have gone missing after you brought them to the mountains to hold firearms),” Caalaman said.
A mom’s grief
Relissa Lucena, mother of Alicia Jasper (AJ), a student activist who was reportedly recruited by the youth group Anakbayan, slammed the Makabayan bloc for exploiting her daughter and depriving AJ to live a normal life.
“Hindi niyo ako makikita sa kalye kung wala kayong kinuha sa akin, hindi niyo ako makikita sa kalye kung hindi ko pinaglalaban ‘yung anak ko (You will not see me roaming down the streets if you have not taken anything from me, you will not see in the streets if I’m not fighting for my daughter),” Lucena said, reiterating she can’t afford to stay at home and do nothing about AJ’s situation.
Lucena and her husband have earlier filed petitions before the Supreme Court to compel Anakbayan and Kabataan Party-list to return recruited youths to the custody of their parents. However, the petitions got denied for lack of evidence, according to the Supreme Court.
Lucena said there is a need to pursue a “people’s initiative” to close down schools infiltrated by the CPP-NPA to halt the recruitment of more minors.
Meanwhile, LPP spokesperson Arlene Escalante the illegal recruitment of youth will only destroy the children’s better future, “which their parents hoped for them.”
Escalante appealed to the children’s welfare council of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) to focus on the harm brought by the communist rebels in its recruitment of young people.
“Just imagine children being trained to kill—to become killing machines. These youth were totally wrecked psychologically, physically, and mentally,” Escalante said, noting that these child warriors must be saved from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
The anti-communist groups cited the recent testimonies given by former NPA rebels pointing at the Makabayan bloc as the recruitment arm of the communist movement.
The groups vowed to continue campaigning against the recruitment activities of left-leaning youth organizations.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (Lade Jean Kabagani, PNA)