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Parlade wants youth to inherit peaceful PH

By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency

Lt. General Antonio Parlade, Jr., Southern Luzon Command chief (Screengrab)

MANILA – A ranking military official, who is nearing retirement, expressed hope to see a peaceful Philippines for the youth, many of them lost their lives and future to communist terrorism.

"Gusto kong manahin ng ating mga kabataan ang isang tahimik at mapayapang Pilipinas (I want our youth to inherit a harmonious and peaceful Philippines)," said Lt. General Antonio G. Parlade, Jr., Southern Luzon Command chief.

Parlade, in a recent video message, lamented that many young people have been victims of communist terrorist groups' (CTGs) atrocities.

"Ang dami na nating mga kabataan na nag suffer dito sa insurgency na ito (We have a lot of youth have suffered from this insurgency)," said Parlade, who also spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Among them, he said, is 21-year old Far Eastern University football varsity player Keith Absalon, who along with his cousin Nolven, 40, died after New People’s Army (NPA) rebels detonated an anti-personnel mine (APM) and shot in Masbate on June 6.

"Kieth actually begged for his life, pero hindi siya pinatawad ng NPA kaya siya's pinutukan sa ulo (but the NPA did not listen to him and shot him in the head)," Parlade said, adding that Nolven, raising his arms to plead for his life, was also shot to death.

In an earlier press conference, he said Absalons’ companions confirmed that the fatalities were killed, not only because of the APM blast but by the assault.

Parlade, in his visit during the wake of Kieth and Nolven last week, assured the Absalon family that the government will give justice for the senseless killings.

Magtiwala po kayo sa amin at ito ay tatapusin namin,” he told Kieth’s mother, Vilma.

The recent use of APMs in Masbate is the seventh mine blast incident since January this year.

The use of APMs is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted by the international community, prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons.

"It took a Kieth, a popular football star, to remind us that these incidents happen. Sana ito ay maging awakening ng ating mga kababayan (I hope this will serve as an awakening for our fellow countrymen)," he said.

In the wake of a series of violent attacks, Parlade said the government is open for localized peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – National Democratic Front.

"Bukas ang aming pinto para sa usaping pangkapayapaan para makamtan natin ang katahimikan (Our door is open for peace talks so we can achieve tranquility)," Parlade said.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)



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