Gov’t seeks talks with state university execs vs NPA recruitment
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Friday he wants to initiate a dialogue involving the police, military, students and officials from several state universities as part of the awareness campaign against the recruitment strategies of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Among the schools the DILG chief mentioned are the University of the Philippines and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, where he said some student organizations have been “infiltrated” by the communist rebels.
Año, himself a retired chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said groups like the League of Filipino Students where the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has supposed “corresponding branches” need to be monitored.
“Gusto nating magkaroon ng engagement and dialogue sa school authorities and students so that magkaroon ng awareness ang mga tao kung ano ang modus operandi ng CPP-NPA,” he told reporters.
“PUP, UP, mga iba pang state universities natin. ‘Yan ang laging tinatarget, mga state universities,” he added.
The DILG chief said the government has also been seeking the review of existing memoranda of agreement with some schools, including a 1989 agreement with UP that limits the presence of state security forces inside campuses. He said these agreements may no longer be applicable in the present times.
“[Dapat] magkaroon tayo ng adjustment and amendment. Somehow there is a need of the presence of our policemen in some areas and some particular universities,” he said, noting that the CPP-NPA does not only wage its fight in the country’s outskirts but also in “white areas” like cities, schools, and factories.
He said about 500 to 1,000 students nationwide undergo immersion activities in provinces every summer, where some of them return as student leaders taking part in rallies. He added around 50 to 100 end up joining the communist movement.
Should the limitations on the presence of police and the military in schools be relaxed, Año said they will only be allowed to enter the campuses “when needed or if a situation arises.”
He also promised parents of the youth lured and recruited by the NPA that the government will help them “reclaim” their children.
“Somehow there is a violation of the law there, like for example kidnapping, abduction and filing of Writ of Habeas Corpus. Minors are easily lured by unscrupulous groups so tutulungan namin ang mga magulang para makamit ang hinahanap nila at makuha ang mga anak nila,” he said. /jpv
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