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Military seeks help of educ officials to block NPA recruitment in schools

The military’S Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) is seeking to conduct a dialogue with education officials to tackle the recruitment of students by the communist movement.

Col. Ezra Balagtey, EastMinCom spokesperson, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DEPED) and members of the academe can help in eradicating the activity of the New People’s Army (NPA) in inducing the students.

Balagtey is appealing to school officials, particularly the teachers, to prevent their students from joining militant organizations. He also urged parents not to let their children join any suspicious groups.

“They (communist group) always do deceptive recruitment in the guise of organizing a legitimate student organization,” Balagtey said.

“Unwittingly, these students who were recruited are being agitated and, eventually, being required to undergo immersion in the armed group before their eventual integration in the NPA (New People’s Army) like what happened to the UPLB (University of the Philippines – Los Baños) student that was recently killed in an encounter,” he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) lamented the death of John Carlo Capistrano Alberto, a UP veterinary medicine who was killed in an encounter between the soldiers and the rebels at the boundary of Quezon and Laguna last week.

Balagtey admitted there was NPA recruitment in school in Davao.

“There is a history,” he said. “We just don’t have specific number.”

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division, confirmed they have monitored students who joined the underground movement.

He cited the Salugpungan schools.

Lamosao said those students who joined in the street rallies are the “vulnerable target of NPA recruitment.”

CHED and DepEd have yet to issue statement on the matter.

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