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NTF-ELCAC urges proactive steps to counter youth radicalization

April 26, 2024

In a bid to combat the growing threat of youth radicalization, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) has underscored the critical need for early intervention and heightened vigilance to prevent individuals from being ensnared in terrorist activities.

During a virtual press conference early this week, Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. emphasized the necessity of a proactive stance in addressing radicalization before extremist ideologies can take hold.

Torres highlighted the presence of legal organizations where terrorist

grooming takes place, emphasizing the insidious process of targeting, indoctrinating, and radicalizing individuals until they become involved in Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs).

"Ang problem dito ay kapag sila ay nahatak na sa UGMOs from a legal front organization, they are now committed to support the CPP-NPA in many different ways," Torres said.

"Maaaring hindi muna armado. Maaari silang tumulong by supporting the advocacy of the CPP-NPA. Kung sila naman ay may mga resources, pwede silang tumulong by sharing these resources to them. Pero ang pinakagusto nila ay mahatak ka hanggang ikaw ay maging armado. Yan ang kanilang pinaka-main objective kung saan it may be too late already to reverse the terrorist grooming process," he explained.

Delving into the intricate web of influence, Torres pointed out significant connections such as the Revolutionary Congress of Trade Union's link to Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU); and the association between MAKIBAKA (Makabayang Kilusan ng mga Bagong Kababaihan) to GABRIELA, illustrating how these affiliations can steer individuals towards extremist beliefs.

Furthermore, scrutiny has fallen on organizations like League of Filipino Students (LFS), National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Kabataan, and others for their focus on targeting the youth for radicalization in relation to their association with the designated-terrorist group, Kabataang Makabayan.

Torres elucidated on the operational strategies employed, revealing how cadres within UGMOs, notably Kabataang Makabayan (KM), leverage legal front organizations to recruit vulnerable youth and students. For example, the LFS plays a pivotal role in this process, with members transitioning from legal advocacy to active support for violent extremism.

The key challenge lies in early identification and intervention to address the recruitment tactics effectively, as individuals drawn into UGMOs from legal fronts become staunch supporters of extremist ideologies, Torres emphasized.

He stressed the urgency of preventing terror-grooming by intervening at the initial stages of targeting and profiling.

The NTF-ELCAC official reiterated the importance of furthering resilience against radicalization and promoting peace and security within communities by comprehending these connections and taking preemptive measures.

He called on the public to proactively safeguard youth and students from falling victim to recruitment tactics by fostering vigilance and awareness within families, communities, and educational institutions.


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



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