File photo.

Organizations outside Palawan State University (PSU) that wish to engage and recruit students to join their groups will have to get clearance first from the student affairs and services office before they will be allowed to seek the approval of president Dr. Ramon Docto to conduct their activities.

Dr. Grace Abrina, director of the Office of Students Affairs and Services (OSAS) of PSU, said Saturday that they have tightened their policy on accepting “outside organizations” that want to enter their university to sign-up students into their groups.

Abrina said they have made their policy on accepting them more secure following the arrest of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) member Ronces Paragoso and the identification of Absie Eligio as a left-leaning organizer and recruiter.

Palawan State University students do the thumbs down sign against what they call “deceptive recruitment” of the rebel movement on their campus. (Photo courtesy of 6th CRG/WESCOM)

“Ang mga organizations na magco-conduct ng mga activities from the outside, dapat ay kumuha muna sila ng clearance. Lahat ng organizations na pumapasok sa university na magco-conduct ng ano mang activity, they have to pass through us lalo na kung hindi namin identified o hindi namin alam ang background. Kasi we have to protect our students,” Abrina said.

She said organizations that have been identified by the military as fronts of the rebel group will not be allowed within their university because the security of their students matters to them.

Abrina said the Western Command (WESCOM) through the Palawan Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) has released a list of the “so-called” left-leaning organizations and it is one of the reasons why they have upgraded their policy on the entry of organizations to PSU.

“We are concerned about the security of our students and the university. Bago naman natin i-allow ang mga organization na magco-conduct ng activities nila, kini-clear natin ‘yan. Ang listing naman hindi ba nanggagaling sa armed forces? In partnership with them, we also would like to protect our students — ‘yong safety ng mga bata, lalo na ngayon na medyo tumataas nga ‘yong incidents nang recruitment,” she said.

Abrina said they were “shocked” to learn about Paraguso and Eligio, their former college and elementary students, who are being linked to the rebel group.

She said organizations in the past used to be “labas-pasok” (in and out) of PSU, but it was also when recruitment of students into the leftist movement seemed to have become rampant.

“Syempre nabigla kami because we were dahil ‘yong mga batang ‘yan, siguro masyadong maluwag ang naging ano natin… kaya lang from the mother itself, from the family itself, kung sila na mismo nagre-release na ng statement na ‘buhay namin ito’, it’s a matter of choice. With that choice, we don’t want them to also na magcau-cause nang gulo sa atin sa PSU. Si Absie dati yata siyang Laboratory Elementary o Laboratory High School’,” she said.

“Dati labas-pasok naman sila dito, but doon nga ‘yong parang malakas ang recruitment,” Abrina added.

As the student affairs director, she said it is her job to be concerned, backed up by their security director Vilma Sandoy.

She said they have also tightened their security procedures on the entry of students, as well as other individuals going in and out of their campuses.

Abrina said Eligio will no longer be allowed to enter PSU as his presence will be alarming.

“The fact na he has been identified, lalo tayong na-alarm,” she said.

However, Abrina said despite the PSU leveling up its policy on accepting organizations inside its premises, they can still guarantee that no more students will be recruited.

“Masyadong malaki ang PSU, sinasabihan namin ang mga directors na bago sila magtanggap ng mga magsasalita o magbibigay ng seminars, dapat mag-clearance dito kay president Docto. The president has to approve. But we cannot deny the fact na dahil sa masyadong malaki ay zero incident kami,” she said.

WESCOM lauds PSU action

Learning this, the WESCOM in a press statement sent Saturday commended the initiative of the state university in preventing the entry of organizations allegedly affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.

Vice Adm. Rene Medina, commander of the WESCOM, said in the statement that this initiative in preventing the entry of CPP-NPA “front organizations” should be followed as an example by other colleges and universities in the province.

“PSU has taken the initiative after news came out implicating Absie Eligio as one of the speakers during the NPA’s 48th anniversary. Dr Abrina said that she has given instructions not to allow the entry of Absie Eligio and other organizations affiliated with the CPP-NPA terrorists on their campuses,” he said.

Medina said they continue to seek the commitment of all in the education community to protect the students and accelerate action on preventing the infiltration and recruitment of the rebel group.

“We asked the continuous school’s commitment to protecting our students and accelerate action on preventing the infiltration and recruitment of these terrorist groups in our school communities to complement the peace and development in the province and for the youth to appreciate more their roles in building a better society”, Medina said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.