Myka Magbanua, elected president of NUSP in Palawan, denies allegations of the organization's involvement with the NPA.

Puerto Princesa City Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president and ex-officio councilor Myka Magbanua denied Tuesday that the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) Palawan Chapter that she chairs is involved with the New People’s Army (NPA) and any “rebellion-related activities”.

Magbanua, reacting to allegations  by a rebel returnee and from netizens on social media, said she has “no knowledge of youth recruitment” for the leftist movement through their organization.

The NUSP is a nationwide alliance of student councils, governments, and unions supposedly committed to the advancement of the students’ democratic rights and welfare.

“Aminado ako, I was elected as NUSP president in Palawan. Sa mga meetings namin ay walang ganoon (NPA and recruitment-related topics), it’s just a mere coalition of different students in Palawan. Ang gusto namin mangyari is to create subjects and programs, ‘yon lang. Hindi namin naisip ‘yong other side of the story na may ganoon pala na ini-instill o may ganoon palang mensahe. Without hearing this information today, we don’t actually know what really happened,” she said to Palawan News on October 29.

Magbanua was among the participants in the Palawan Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) Multi-Sectoral Security Summit held at the VJR Hall, Provincial Capitol.

“Kung ginagamit tayo or ang mga organizations para makahikayat ng mga kabataan ay we really strongly condemn them. Pero kung ang mga kabataan ay just availing freedom of expression, there is no problem availing the right vested in the constitution — pero kung gagamitin sa ibang bagay, hindi pwede,” Magbanua said.

Magbanua said they also verified and investigated reports about the NPA since they have insufficient knowledge that the NUSP is connected to the NPA.

She said the NUSP chapter in Palawan does not engage in mass actions or street protests, it just conducts regular activities for the youth.

“Siguro ‘yong mga ginagawa ng iba na they rally and engage in more intense activities ay wala kaming ganoon. We just do regular activities and actually, hindi namin alam kung anong matatawag sa amin,” she said.

“We really have to replicate the programs of the national government to the grassroots, ‘yon ang sinusundan namin. But, when it comes to NUSP ay wala pong ganoon,” Magbanua added.

Magbanua, who also signed the manifesto of support and condemnation of the rebel movement, said the SK and the youth leaders are willing to partner with the Western Command (WESCOM) and the PTF-ELCAC to work on the development of the youth.

Meanwhile, WESCOM commander Vice Adm. Rene Medina said their personnel have been talking to Magbanua’s group which is part of their aim to reach out to all other sectors.

“Our staff has been talking with the group and it is part of our effort in addressing or reaching out to all other sectors. We believe we can partner, but we cannot discuss this because we have to wait for the report of the specific office in charge,” he said.