PN photo

The Hands Off Our Children Movement, Inc. (HOOCMI)-Palawan, which aims to spread awareness against the recruitment of youth by the New People’s Army (NPA) in universities and other vulnerable sectors, was launched at the VJR Hall of the provincial capitol on Wednesday.

Paulette Castillo, HOOCMI provincial coordinator for Palawan, said during a press conference after the launching that the primary objective of their group is to prevent recruitment within the universities and other vulnerable sectors to join the armed rebel group.

“That’s the maximum we have to do if we are allowed. We call on the academe para ma-prevent ang deceptive recruitment. [Also] we go to universities and outside the community because we are also concerned doon sa mga issues ng different sectors like fisherfolks,” Castillo said.

Paulette Castillo, HOOCMI provincial coordinator for Palawan (PN photo)

“We are going to have an impact in the community and families once awareness campaign pushes through. Our target is that all children and their families will be aware of what is happening,” she added.

HOOCMI is a non-government group made up of the parents of former rebels who want to help the government fight back against terrorism.

It was organized in 2019 with chapters in different areas of the country and is accepting members willing to help in the prevention of rebel recruitment.

The group also sells Hands Off Our Children T-shirts to support the organization.

“Hindi lang po ito pamilya ng mga na-recuit kundi kung sino pa ang naniniwala at gustong mapigilan ang pagrecruit sa kabataan,” Annabelle Sabado, secretary of HOOCMI national, said.

During the launch, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Provincial Task Force Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) also pledged their commitment of support to HOOCMI.