Año cites EO to support police presence in schools
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año in a statement on Sunday cited an executive order that he said could be invoked to increase police visibility in schools “infiltrated” by communist rebels.
Año said Executive Order No. 70, which created the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict
(NTFELCAC) could be invoked to increase police presence in “infiltrated schools and universities” to stop the recruitment by leftist groups as part of a “whole-of-nation approach” to end insurgency.
The task force, however, is only partly the basis of the said EO, issued on Dec. 4, 2018, which also “direct[s] the adoption of a national peace framework [which] … shall be responsible to local needs and sensitive to realities on the ground. To this end, the framework shall include a mechanism for localized peace engagemetns or negotiations and interventions that is nationally orchestrated, directed and supervised, while being locally implemented.”
The EO also states that a “Whole-of-Nation approach is hereby institutionalized as a government policy for the attainment of inclusive and sustainable peace. Toward this end, the government shall prioritize and harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages in conflict-affected areas and -vulnerable communities, facilitate societal inclusivity and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.”
The task force consists of the President and the national security adviser as chair and vice chair, respectively, as well as several members of the Cabinet led by the interior secretary and other officials, including the heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
Año said his agency was ready to hold dialogues and other engagements with school officials and students to raise awareness on the communist rebels’ modus operandi.
He also reminded parents to keep a close watch on their children and prevent them from joining communist groups which “have little regard for the lives of the youth” as they are allegedly “masquerading as progressive propoor organizations” but are actually “front organizations or recruitment centers” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Año further pointed out that a review of memorandums of agreement on police visibility with state universities and colleges would also be valuable in stopping alleged communist infiltration of schools.
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