GUHIT (Guild for Upholding and Harnessing Indispensable Talents) Pinas-Palawan and the Youth Development Office (YDO) of Puerto Princesa City have denounced the leftist activism and denied any involvement with the New People’s Army (NPA).
GUHIT Pinas-Palawan, a non-profit youth organization and a subsidiary of GUHIT Pinas national organization, said in a press statement that it is an independent organization with no ties to any political group.
The statement was made after a video recently surfaced online implicating Absie Eligio as one of the speakers during the NPA’s 48th anniversary. Eligio is a known youth advocate in the city and was involved in a mural project where GUHIT Pinas-Palawan was a part of.
Leonard Ansiong, GUHIT Pinas-Palawan chapter president, denied Eligio’s connection with the youth art group citing that the community mural project was a one-time venture only.
“Wala kaming idea na Kuya Absie is a suspected NPA. We released the letter to clarify na wala kaming kinalaman sa makakaliwang grupo,” Ansiong said.
Ansiong also said that moving forward, the organization will be more stringent in screening invitations and its youth member applications to avoid tainting its reputation.
Meanwhile, Jemarjo “Arjo” Escalona, YDO officer, said that he and Eligio are “compadres” but he was shocked to learn about Eligio’s political affiliation.
“Hindi natin inaasahan na may ganoon pala siyang hakbang na labanan ang ating gobyerno. Masakit sa pakiramdam noong narinig ko ‘yong balita, and at the same time, I have to distance myself kasi baka ako mismo ma-red tag,” Escalona said.
Escalona pointed out that he and his office is not involved in any NPA activities. He also said that as a former student leader of Palawan State University (PSU), he was surprised to hear about the claims of NPA youth recruitment in the city.
“Ayaw natin na may iba pang kabataan sa city na ma-involve sa mga ganoong activity kaya naman we are going to have a partnership with the Western Command (WESCOM) to conduct training and seminars para sa mga kabataan. We will focus on youth role in nation-building para naman wala ng ganitong mangyari in the future,” Escalona said.
As of press time, Myka Magbanua, president of SK Federation of Puerto Princesa, refused to comment on the issue and instead said that she will release a statement upon her return in the province.