82 communist-linked schools in Bukidnon monitored
By Nef Luczon and Franck Dick Rosete / Philippine News Agency
NPA RECRUITMENT GROUND NO MORE. Residents of Barangays Sagundanon and Cabalantian in Kitaotao, Bukidnon demolish a school operated by Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) on June 5, 2021. Officials of the two barangays, which are mostly inhabited by indigenous peoples, claimed that communist-front group MISFI operated the school that served as a recruitment haven of the CPP-NPA. (Photo courtesy of 72IB)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Army's 10th Infantry Division (10ID) confirmed it is conducting "intensive monitoring" of some 82 private-run schools in Bukidnon suspected to be "recruitment fronts" of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Maj. Jerry Lamosao, 10ID spokesperson, in a recent interview, said they have intensified their collaboration with the community and other government agencies and local government units, after a private school allegedly operated by a non-government organization in Purok 2, Sagundanon village, Kitaotao town, Bukidnon, was demolished because of its alleged links to the CPP-NPA.
"It is through collaboration with the local officials, residents in the community, and government agencies that we have identified the NPA recruitment schools," he said.
Lamosao said the 82 schools on their list are Salugpungan, Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI), Community Technical College of Southern Mindanao, "Clans," Father Faustino Tentorio Memorial School, Assumption Interfaith Academy Foundation Incorporated, and other schools operated by Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, among others.
He said MISFI was recently identified to have been operated the "NPA recruitment school" in Purok 2, Sagundanon village for four years.
He also said children from different barangays were sent to these schools in the hope of proper education and a better future.
On June 5, Sagundanon village chief Jeofrey Gawilan and Cabalantian village chief Thelma Hilaria, together with their Sangguniang Barangay and Tribal Council, issued a resolution to demolish the MISFI school over "false teachings and ideologies by the NPA".
A 22-minute video uploaded by a radio reporter in Bukidnon Igan Xander showed residents from two villages demolishing the school.
Gawilan said the resolution implementing the demolition of MISFI School had been unanimously agreed by barangay officials and its constituents.
"We call on our youth to never be deceived by the deceptions of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front). By this demolition, we hope that slowly, we will achieve the peace we long for here in our Barangay," he said in a statement.
The two officials said parents of former students admitted that their children were brought to Manila.
The parents said they only had the chance to talk to them twice. Based on the last news they received, their children were forced to work on a farm.
Some students were reportedly promised free education in Manila but ended up joining rallies.
"Today marks a new beginning for all of us. As we celebrate this month of Independence Day, we also freed ourselves from the shadow of the communist terrorist groups," Hilaria said in a statement on the school demolition.
Meanwhile, barangay residents called on other barangays that are sympathetic to the CPP-NPA to withdraw their support and return to the fold of the real government.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)