Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – Around 100 high school students condemned the NPA’s presence and the armed struggle in Dolores, Abra during the conduct of Security Awareness Symposium facilitated by the Army’s 24th Infantry “Wildcat” Battalion at Rosalio Eduarte National High School, Brgy Talogtog, Dolores, Abra on November 6, 2019.
The students also protested against the NPA’s infiltration and recruitment of youth in schools within the province of Abra.
Headed by the 24IB Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Jearie Boy P. Faminial, the Security Awareness Symposium was organized in coordination with the faculties and staff of Rosalio Eduarte National High School.
The school principal, Mr. David P. Lingayo Jr., gladly welcomed the team of Captain Rogelio A. Dumbrigue Jr. of the 2nd Civil-Military Operation’s Company. They informed the students about the illegal activities being done by the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) and how it ruins the future of the youth.
Included in the Symposium lectures were the following topics: CTGs’ Campus Illegal Recruitment/Infiltration, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), ROTC/NSTP Bill, and Executive Order No. 70 (Institutionalizing the Whole of Nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive & Sustainable Peace). Information on how to join the Army was also shared to the high school students who indicated an interest in being a soldier.
After the series of lectures, the students wrote open letters addressed to local terrorists in Abra, encouraging them to leave the armed struggle and surrender their selves to the government. The students said that their families need them, especially this coming Christmas.
“Pwede po bang makiisa na kayo sa gobyerno nang sa ganun matapos na ang problema ng ating bansa tungkol sa usaping kapayapaan at terorismo, at para na rin wala ng taong madadamay at magbubuwis ng buhay,” wrote one student in her open letter. (Could you please cooperate and work with the government so that the country’s problems on peace and terrorism could be put to an end, so that no one would have to die anymore.)
Principal Lingayo Jr. expressed his gratitude to the soldiers assigned in the province of Abra. He said that the Army has tirelessly supported and helped the province take care of its youth groups by keeping them away from drugs and the influence of the NPA. He also stated that the presence of the 24IB in the province has done much to allay the fears of the people from the atrocities of the NPA.
Lt. Col. Faminial emphasized that “the youth are the most vulnerable targets of recruitment for they are adventurous, trusting, and idealistic”. Hence, they are being deceived by the CTGs to sustain their fight against the government, usually under the guise of “NPA-influenced youth groups like Kabataang Makabayan”.
“I keep saying that we must protect the youth from being brainwashed by the NPA, and the best way to protect them is to arm them with the proper knowledge on how to resist their underhanded tactics,” said Major General Lenard T. Agustin, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division. “It is good that all of our line units are aggressively conducting information drives in schools and communities to counter the infiltration and recruitment that the NPA is doing. This group does not care about our children’s future. They do not care about peace, progress and development. All they want is to create chaos - to take advantage of the people’s fear and confusion, to achieve their intent of changing the form of government thru bloody revolution,” added Major General Agustin.