PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday advised parents and school administrators to be wary of recruitment activities by the New People’s Army amid growing cases of government scholars who have either been killed or captured along with heavily-armed NPA guerrillas in the countryside.
“As we usher the summer season with the culmination of the previous school year, I am taking the urgency of raising awareness among parents and school administrators to be mindful of students’ extra-curricular activities that are not sanctioned or approved by school authorities such as off-campus social immersion programs, teach-ins, symposia, social field work and community organization in areas of operation of armed units of the local communist movement.
“The communist terrorist movement, through its front organizations, exploits such activities to recruit fighters from among the ranks of unsuspecting students,” the PNP chief told a press briefing at Camp Crame.
To illustrate his point, Gen. Albayalde said that one of the estimated 50 heavily-armed NPA rebels who attacked the Victoria Municipal Police Station in Northern Samar last Thursday turned out to be Aljon Tamuyang Cardenas, an 18-year-old “student from Calbayog City.” The Victoria policemen led by Lieutenant Eladio Alo repulsed the raid and killed three of the NPA guerrillas, said Police Regional Office 8 director Brigadier General Dionardo B. Carlos.
Police Regional Office 4-A director, Brig. Gen. Edward E. Carranza said that one of the 45 NPA rebels who surrendered to them last week also confessed he was an NPA platoon leader in Quezon who in 2006 impregnated a student from the University of the Philippines-Diliman he identified only as “Sophia” after the latter “immersed” with their group. The rebel said that “Sophia” gave birth to their child in 2008 but never returned to their mountain hideout since then.
According to Gen. Albayalde, some members of militant youth and student organizations are also known to participate in indoctrination and “social immersion” courses in clandestine training camps during school break, without their parents knowing about it.
The PNP chief said there had been persistent reports of sighting and even active participation of some university students in some insurgent activities including armed engagements with government security forces.
He cited the case of Cardenas, a student of the state-run University of Eastern Philippines in Calbayog City who was captured after a foiled NPA raid in Victoria, Northern Samar to drumbeat the NPA’s 50th founding anniversary.
“Cardenas is not the first, and hopefully he is the last student to fall for the grand communist deception who allowed himself to be used as cannon fodder in this 50-year protracted war of the CPP-NPA that is going nowhere,” Gen. Albayalde said.
“As a general policy, the PNP recognizes academic freedom as important to promote critical thinking in our educational system. We have no problem with student radicalism, but the moment militant students take up arms to topple government, they become enemies of the state and subject to appropriate law enforcement response. God forbid but we do not want these unwary students to be in the line of fire when our maneuver forces launch a summer offensive in the CPP-NPA heartland in the coming weeks,” he said.