Sen. Bato moves to criminalize NPA radicalization in schools
Updated: Nov 29, 2023
November 29, 2023
Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Wednesday (Nov. 29, 2023) has moved to criminalize radicalization in colleges and universities by communist terrorist groups (CTGs) to insulate students from violent ideologies, protect their safety, finish education, and become productive members in nation building in the future.
During a hearing held by the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs in which he chaired, dela Rosa said his proposed Senate Resolution 863 aims to determine legal liabilities of CTG radicalization and recruitment of students and prevent the same in connection with the implementation of Republic Act 11479, otherwise known as Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and other related laws.
Also, the resolution targets school officials like administrators and teachers who may be involved in the radicalization and recruitment of their young students to become party members of the communist movement and ultimately becoming a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Nitong mga nakaraang araw, muling nakatanggap ang ating komite ng mga report hinggil sa
pagpasok ng communist ideologies at recruitment efforts ng CTGs sa loob ng mga eskwelahan,” said dela Rosa, this despite ATL already in effect.
In the resolution, dela Rosa wants 1) to determine whether there was negligence on the part of schools, its administrators and teachers to exercise their special parental authority over the minor child under their supervision, instruction or custody; 2) to determine and address loopholes in the provisions under the Anti-Terrorism Act and other relevant laws, and; 3) to revisit policies geared towards countering the radical ideologies which often prey on the discontent and frustrations of young students.
“As we convene today, let us keep in mind our shared responsibilities to ensure that the laws and policies in place align with the principles of ‘Parens Patriae’. Let us proceed with a commitment to furthering the well-being of our youth,” he said.
Relevant government agencies were also present in the hearing like the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHed), National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), representatives from the security sector, former NPA rebels, among others.
Also present was National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairman Undersecretary Ronald Gian Carlo Cardema who singled out members of the “Makabayan Bloc” in Congress and other legal front organizations as culprits in the radicalization and recruitment of students in colleges and universities particularly in Metro Manila.
Cardema took note of an NPA recruitment video circulating in the internet where rebels brandish their high-powered firearms and enticing youth 18-year-old and above to join the NPA.
“NYC is alarmed. The CTGs are now recruiting again, very trendy. Ginagawang joke ang recruitment video,” Cardema said in disgust.
The video has prompted dela Rosa to seek the help from representatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP), particularly the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), to look into the matter by identifying the source of the video and also those who shared the video then file appropriate charges against them under the ATL.
Former NPA top leaders present during the hearing took turns in exposing the systematic recruitment and radicalization of students in various schools and universities who later turned up dead in encounters with government troops. Such is the case of Jethro Isaac, a former student from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), who perished recently during a military encounter in Gloria, Occidental Mindoro.
One of them, Justin Kate Raca, a former student from the UP-Diliman, told the hearing that she was deployed in northern Palawan where all her companions perished in armed encounters with soldiers from the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC). She said she decided to surrender and now expecting to be commissioned as an officer in the corps in the next few days.
The other ex-rebels Noel Legaspi, Ivy Lyn Corpin, Alma Gabin, Serapeon Jongco, Joy James Saguino, Daniel Castillo, and Arian Jane Ramos told of their own stories as former recruiters and red fighters and urged students not to fall prey with the recruitment strategies of the CTGs.
Also present in the hearing was Luisa Espina, vice chairperson of the Hands Off Our Children Movement (HOOCM), whose daughter was radicalized and recruited to the NPA.
“Narekrut ang anak ko ng Anakbayan at Gabriela Youth sa PUP. Simula noon ay nagbago na ang kanyang ugali, lagi nang galit. Nawawalawala ng ilang araw o linggo dahil sa pagsali sa mga rally hanggang sa tuluyan nang hindi umuwi,” Espina told the hearing.
Raca also dropped the bombshell during the hearing by accusing Kabataan partylist Representative Raoul Manuel as one of the many recruiters of students to join the armed struggle.
“I was able to work with Raoul Manuel when he was still a UP student. Kasama ko siya recruiting for KM (Kabataang Makabayan) and the CPP and we facilitated the NPA recruitment as in UP. I am sure he will deny this, my good old friend Raoul Manuel and workmate,” Raca revealed.
Ramos added she helped facilitate the immersion of Manuel in the armed movement.
NTF-ELCAC MEDIA BUREAU
Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco
November 29, 2023