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AFP warns public of CPP-NPA’s recruitment modus

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday took to the Senate its genuine concern for celebrities and vulnerable sectors that might be taken advantage of by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

The AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay wanted to raise the public’s awareness about the CPP-NPA’s modus of capitalizing on and exploiting the idealism of youth, students and celebrities who have the capability to influence people. It is in line with the military’s peace and development campaign to shield and protect the people, institutions, and vulnerable sectors from the recruitment of communist terrorist groups (CTG).

Senate Resolution No. 559 directed the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation to exercise its oversight authority over the defense sector on the issue of red-tagging/red-baiting of certain celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations.

General Gapay was one of the resource persons in the public hearing initiated by Senator Panfilo Lacson at the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay City. Also present were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Commander of AFP Southern Luzon Command Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. Attorney Maneeka Asistol Sarza on the other hand represented the Makabayan Bloc.

The Defense and Security officials set the record that there was no red-tagging on their side and that the term was created by the CPP-NPA themselves who acknowledged that Gabriela and other legal front organizations are part of their party building.

In previous statements, General Gapay said that the military on many occasions, have encountered in combat operations students who are affiliated with front organizations of the CPP-NPA like Gabriela and others. They started as members of these organizations and eventually joined the armed formation of the NPA to become cadres. Many of them unfortunately died in operations.

One of the resource persons in the senate hearing was former communist rebel Jeffrey Celiz once called “Ka Eric” by his CPP comrades. He attested to the CPP-NPA’s recruitment of minors and also confirmed that there were incidents when the vulnerability of the minors was abused by members of the communist organization.  

Other former rebels were virtually present to speak up about their experiences in the communist organization. They told the senate committee that they were recruited by the CPP-NPA at a young age through progressive student organizations. They eventually became key officers who led movements by the CPP’s front organizations before returning to the fold of the government.

Meanwhile, the AFP as part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) continues to conduct peace and development projects in partnership with other government agencies to prevent recruitment and concentration of communist terrorists in vulnerable areas.  

The AFP as the protector of the people and the state will continue its advocacy to put a stop to the deceitful ways of the CPP-NPA and their front organizations. Beyond its conduct of focused military operations, the military is proactively seeking solutions through continuous dialogues with local leaders, government agencies, and non-government organizations. This is to ensure that the rights of the Filipino people are protected from exploitation and violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA and its front organizations./// (Photos by TSg Randulf Obinque PAF/PAOAFP)

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