Oct 28, 2020

WESCOM monitoring Palawan universities for NPA recruitment

The Western Command (WESCOM) disclosed this week it has been coordinating with school authorities to monitor recruitment activities of so-called “left leaning organizations.”

Brigadier General Lauro Tianchon, deputy WESCOM commander, said school management should take action to stop the recruitment activities of the New People’s Army (NPA), especially through some left-leaning organizations.

“Nakikipag-coordinate kami for them to take action din. Nandyan pa ang kalaban natin kaya ang kailangan natin ay matapos na kasi habang nandyan sila. Economic wise ang mga contractor natin ay hinihingian nila. Hindi natatapos, kaya ang school na nagiging source nila ay sana ma-address natin ang recruitment kasi kapag wala na silang na-recruit sa school ay matatapos na, wala ng papalit sa kanila,” Tianchon said.

He cited Executive Order (EO) 70 that mandates all government agencies to coordinate efforts to end the insurgency problem.

Tianchon said the EO calls for a “whole of nation approach” where all government agencies must coordinate with each other to end the armed conflict.

“Kailangan natin i-address ang local communist-terrorist as a whole hindi ‘yong military approach lang, hindi economic lang. Lahat ng problem kailangan natin sabay-sabayin para matanggal ‘yan. Dapat lahat ng Pilipino [ay magtulungan] para matapos na ‘yan. We have a problem with them for almost 50 years hanggang ngayon hindi pa natatapos kaya may order ang presidente na tapusin,” Tianchon added.

Brigadier General Charlton Sean Gaerlan, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade, said they are only monitoring armed groups but they have realized that they should also watch universities and state colleges so they do not become recruitment grounds for the NPA.

However, Gaerlan did not specify any university that they are monitoring.

“Actually, for specific universities ay wala naman tayong specific na tina-target kasi ang program natin ay lahat talaga as much as possible. Even before wala tayong target na schools. However, due to recent developments and lesson learned ay napagalaman natin na hindi lang dapat tayo sa armed group nakatuon kaya ‘yon ang start na last year ay naging agressive tayo para makipag-coordinate sa schools kasi sila talaga ang ‘yong nakakaalam at sila naman ay nagiging active naman katulad ng pag-monitor nila sa mga activities which is very good kasi hindi talaga natin ma-cover lahat that’s why we need the help of the academe, and civil society against sa recruitment ng mga kalaban,” Gaerlan said.

Dr. Grace Abrina, head of the Office of Students Affairs of the Palawan State University (PSU) said there are 49 accredited organizations allowed to conduct activities inside the campus.

Abrina admitted that some of these organizations are conducting recruitment activities.

“There are some organization from outside that conduct activities, I would not say that Palawan State University is excused from this things, we are very vulnerable sa ganitong pangyayari dahil sa laki at coverage ng university kaya hindi natin masabi na walang nagre-recruit.. We also started accreditation of our students organizations, magkakaroon lang ng activities or makakagamit ng facilities kapag sila ay accredited and the request from outside ay dadaan po ‘yon sa akin bago maendorse the president. Nakita namin na we are guarded by the organization we have to watch for because this is one way of protecting our students,” Abrina said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have branded Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Anak Bayan, Anak Pawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, Piston, Kabataan, and Kadamay partylist as among these left-leaning groups.

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