Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – Prior to the closing ceremony of 1st Sta Lucia Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) 2019 conducted by 81st Infantry (SPARTAN) Battalion, the youth held a “Peace Walk” on October 27, 2019 within the Municipality of Sta Lucia, Ilocos Sur.
The summit, with the theme “Youth of Today is the Catalyst of Change for a Better Tomorrow”, commenced on October 25, 2019. The said activity is designed to enlighten young individuals about their roles and responsibilities as future leaders, the ills of leftist organizations, and countering exploitation of the Youth Sector by left –leaning organizations.
With good inputs, the youth decided to express sentiments by writing an open letter addressed to the NPA members in Ilocos Sur. The letters suggested the rebels to leave the armed struggle and voluntarily surrender with their firearms to live peacefully with their families, especially that Christmas is coming.
To further reinforce their vision of putting an end to armed struggle, the youth leaders advocated Peace Walk or Peace Rally within the municipality of Sta. Lucia saying “No to the Communists, Yes for Peace! Spare us from Recruitment and We Love Peace!”
During the closing ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Rodrigo A. Mariñas Jr., Commanding Officer of 81IB said, “The youth is indeed our hope. With their desire to create change an impact, they can take the lead to embark on different initiatives that will manifest such change and impact. Hopefully, as the summit concludes, may the actions taken by the youth translate to a bigger impact of achieving peace in the province (referring to Ilocos Sur) and encourage the members of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs) in laying down their arms.”
Major General Lenard T. Agustin, Commander of the 7th Infantry Division (7ID), the mother unit of 81IB, remarked upon learning of the activity that the Philippine Army has always aimed for peaceful communities. He continued, “We must protect the youth from the lies and deceptions of Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs). With the peace rally staged by the youth, it manifestated that they are with the Philippine Army in aspiring for a genuinely peaceful community in Sta, Lucia.”
Colonel Audrey L. Pasia, Commander, 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade; Police Captain Leonilo A Ancheta, Chief of Police of Sta Lucia; and, Honorable Joseph Valdez, Mayor of Sta Lucia, also attended the closing ceremony.