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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Youth, ex-rebels back KSU move on books

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Various youth groups and former rebels welcomed the decision of Kalinga State University (KSU) to remove books of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) from the school library that “espoused hate and violence.”

They also warned freshmen students to be vigilant of the deceptive recruitment schemes employed by the Communist Terrorists Groups (CTGs).

At the weekly virtual press conference of the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), students and former rebel leaders expressed their gratitude and support to KSU’s bold move to remove the books “that promote the violent overthrow of the Philippine Government by the communist movement,” saying it’s time to stand up against the CTGs.

In defense of KSU, “Ka Steven,” who wanted to be known by his true identity as Daniel Castillo—a former University of the Philippines student and political instructor of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 55 —said what the KSU did “was to thwart the CPP-NPA-NDF’s blatant attempt to radicalize the (KSU) students.”

“(KSU) didn’t want their students to be a part of this whole scheme of the CPP-NPA-NDF turning university students into CPP-NPA cadres,” Castillo explained.

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Kim Soguilon, External Vice-President of the Supreme Student Council of the Philippines National, said universities and colleges should follow the lead of KSU. 

He called on student leaders to watch out for these materials and help schools by clamoring for their immediate removal.

Christian Kier Betito, president of the Propelling Our Inherited Nation Through Our Youth (POINTY), said their group, which is focused on teaching communities about the atrocities of CTGs, was surprised to learn that these subversive materials have already penetrated the country’s schools. Willie Casas

Betito said he knows some young community members who ended up dead after being exposed to these materials and later recruited by the CTGs. 

“Pulling out this kind of materials from school libraries will stop the CTGs from radicalizing the students,” he said in Tagalog.

Franz Liam Arabia, national spokesperson for Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo, said their group will disseminate and highlight the “bravery” of KSU for standing up against the CTGs when they visit the provinces of Cagayan and Aparri for their program for Sangguniang Kabataan.

“Nilalason nito ang kaisipan ng mga kabataang Filipino,” Arabia said.

Joy James Saguino, alias “Ka Amihan,” a former UP Visayas student and Secretary General of Guerilla Front 20 and First Deputy Secretary of SRC 1, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, said: “We have to take a stand – if we really want to have our universities to have a role in nation building.”

Explaining that students can be activists without being part of the CTGs, Saguino said: “Hindi naman masama with being critical and attentive to social issues. It’s just that ang isyu ng ating society is being exploited by the CPP, especially now.”

“We can express and exercise activism and be progressive and critical without getting involved and affiliated to these organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” he added.

Saguino warned teachers and students alike of the continued exploitation of state universities and colleges by the CTGs.

“We have to underscore the role of the CPP, NPA, and the underground mass movement inside the schools in radicalizing, teaching advocacies and ideologies supporting a violent, political agenda and terrorist organization” the former rebel said. 

Saguino pointed out that she was a former member of the Anakbayan National Executive Committee in 2011 before joining the NPA.

Ariane Ramos, a.k.a. “Ka Marikit,” said that UP played a “big role in giving a venue in radicalizing students because of the front organizations such as Gabriela Youth, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, even in the Student Council organizations such as Anak UP Min, Stand UP.”

UP “allowed the students to be recruited and eventually join the New People’s Army,” Ramos said, pointing out that she was recruited and radicalized in UP at a very young age.

Meanwhile, lawyer Marlon Bosantog, Regional Director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Legal Affairs and Indigenous People Concerns, explained that any academic institution has the right to remove any book from the shelves of their libraries that advocate “to overthrow the Constitution”, such as NDF’s “Araling Aktibista.”

While the Makabayan bloc claimed it as “censorship” and allegedly infringed upon academic freedom, Bosantog countered that “basically these materials are recruitment tools,” adding that it can also be considered as subversive in nature and has a potential to incite sedition.

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