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Kalinga State U pull-out of peace talks documents supplied by NDF gets youth, student leaders’ backing

Various youth groups and former rebels welcomed the decision of Kalinga State University (KSU) to pull-out books and documents on the stalled peace talks supplied by the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) at the school library.

Believing these documents “espouse hate and violence”, the groups also warn freshmen students “to be vigilant of the deceptive recruitment schemes employed” by the underground movement.

During Monday’s virtual press conference of the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), students and former rebel leaders thanked KSU’s bold move to remove books from school premises that “promote the violent overthrow of the Philippine Government by the communist movement,” saying, “it’s time to stand-up against the NPAs.”

Coming to the defense of KSU, “Ka Steven”, who wanted to be known by his true identity as Daniel Castillo, a former University of the Philippines (UP) student and political instructor of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 55, said what the KSU did was to thwart the CPP-NPA-NDF’s blatant attempt to radicalize the (KSU) students.”

“They (KSU) didn’t want their students to be a part of this whole scheme of the CPP-NPA-NDF turning university students into CPP-NPA caders,” Castillo explained.

Kim Soguilon, External Vice-President of the Supreme Student Council of the Philippines National, said universities and colleges should follow the lead of KSU. He called on student leaders to watch out for these materials and help schools by clamoring for their immediate removal.

For his part, Christian Kier Betito, president of the Propelling Our Inherited Nation Through Our Youth (POINTY), said their group, which is focused on teaching communities about the atrocities of CTGs, were surprised to learn that these subversive materials have already penetrated the country’s schools.

He pointed out that he knows some young community members ending up dead after being exposed to these materials and later recruited by the CTGs. “Pulling out this kind of materials from school libraries will stop the CTGs from radicalizing the students,” Betito said in Filipino.

Franz Liam Arabia, national spokesperson for Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo said, their group will disseminate and highlight the “bravery” of KSU for standing up against the CTGs when they visit the provinces of Cagayan and Aparri for their program for Sangguniang Kabataan… “Nilalason nito ang kaisipan ng mga kabataang Filipino,” Arabia said.

For Joy James Saguino alias “Ka Amihan”, former University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas student and Secretary General of Guerilla Front 20 and First Deputy Secretary of SRC 1, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, said that “We have to take a stand – if we really want to have our universities to have a role in nation building,”

Explaining that students can be activists without being part of the underground, Saguino said that “hindi naman masama with being critical and attentive to social issues. It’s just that ang isyu ng ating society is being exploited by the CPP, especially now… we can definitely express and exercise activism and be progressive and critical without getting involved and affiliated to these organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Saguino warned teachers and students alike of the continued exploitation of state universities and colleges by the CPP-NPA.

“We have to underscore the role of the CPP, NPA, and the underground mass movement inside the schools doon sa kanilang pagraradicalize, pagtuturo ng mga advocacies and ideologies na sumusuporta ng isang violent, political agenda at isang terrorist organization” the former rebel said, pointing out that she was a former member of the Anakbayan National Executive Committee in 2011 before joining the NPA.

Ariane Ramos alias “Ka Marikit, also said that UP played a “big role in giving a venue in radicalizing students because of the front organizations such as Gabriela Youth, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, even in the Student Council organizations such as Anak UP Min, Stand UP.”

UP “allowed the students to be recruited and eventually join the New People’s Army,” the former rebel claimed, pointing out that she was recruited and radicalized in UP at a very young age. “After po ng graduation, after two weeks, nag NPA po ako… it’s a call for the UP system to paano maiwasan ang ganitong recruitment dahil ang gusto natin ay magandang kinabukasan para sa kabataan… Yung sinasabing kailangang makipagpatayan sa maging malaya ang isang bansa – hindi po talaga ito totoo. Kasi ang totoo ay dapat tayo ang magtulungan, she said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Marlon Bosantog, Director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Cordillera and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Legal Affairs and Indigenous People Concerns explained, any academic institution has the right to remove any book from the shelves of their libraries that advocate “to overthrow the Constitution”, such as the NDF’s “Araling Aktibista.”

While the Makabayan bloc claimed it as “censorship” and allegedly infringes upon academic freedom, Bosantog countered, “basically these materials are recruitment tools,”‘ adding that it can also be considered as subversive in nature and has a potential to insight sedition.

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