Hundreds of students from Western Philippines University (WPU) joined a Campus Peace and Development Forum conducted by the Tactical Operations Wing-West (TOW-West) Civil Military Operations on Wednesday.

According to Lt. Col. Leopoldo Acerden IV, group commander of the Philippine Air Force Civil Military Operations Group (PAFCMOG), the objective of the event is to guide the students away from crimes and illegal drugs.

The event was held via a video conference with speakers from the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Palawan, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), former rebels Ka Shane and Ka Nadz from the national Kadre Team.

“As you notice we give premium sa ating mga kabataan, our topics is focused sa inyo. Hindi namin kayo pinipilit na sumunod sa isang path na ito ang dapat ninyong gawin but we are giving you guidance. Hindi namin sinasabi na ito ang gawin niyo pero sinasabi namin kng ano ang dapat ninyong maiwasan,” Acerden said.

“They showed you ang mga proyekto ng government para sa Ambisyon Natin 2040,” he said refering to NEDA’s 25-year vision guide for development of programs and projects. “At this state of life youth is very optimistic, nand’yan ang golden hour ninyo. Awareness sa drugs, when you vent off your frustrations ay ‘wag kayo magrely sa drugs,” he added.

He also stated that the youth is allowed to be activists, but in a positive way because negative activism is something that leads to terrorism which usually targets students in the universities.

“And finally doon sa frustration and pressures ninyo, at tingin nyo ang solusyon ay armadong pakikibaka, mga kabilang organisasyon. Activism is not bad per se. There is positive activism that you can do something na makakatulong and not against the government. Negative activism na nagli-lead sa terrorism ang dapat ninyong iwasan. Yan ang tatapos sa future ninyo,” he said.

“Ang objective natin ay makamit ang peace and development program na maisusulong natin dahil sa mga desisyon at aksyon ninyo,” he said.

WPU vice president for administration and finance Dr. Noel Gauran, who also represented the university president, explained that youth is usually attracted illegal drugs and other wrong doings because of their adventurous nature.

“Ang mga kabataan ay vulnerable dahil sa kanilang adventurous nature kaya sila ay nagiging target ng masasamang elements kagaya ng drugs, illegal activities at ng makakaliwang grupo,” he said.

He also advise the youth to remain vigilant and to focus on their studies.

“Ang mandate po ng academy ay hubugin sila bilang responsableng mamamayan. Sa mga estudyante ay sa maging mapagmatyag tayo, magfocus sa pagaaaral, be informed at kumpletuhin,” Gauran said.