The Philippine Army will help secure the schools and protect students from New People’s Army recruitment.
“The AFP and police will help in securing schools but the school management has really the responsibility especially teachers but for us we just provide them protection and give proper information regarding recruitments,” Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, the commanding general of the Philippine Army, said in an interview last Friday during the 13th founding anniversary of the 10th ID in Barangay Tuboran Mawab, Compostela Valley.
He clarified that the soldiers don’t enter schools unless there’s an invitation from the administrators to conduct a lecture or awareness campaign. The officers said students don’t end up as guerrilla fighters right away. A good number of them don’t even take up arms.
“We are doing our best that we could stop it and the youth should be staying with their families, ” he added.
The Army chief said the NPA has weakened in recent years as they recorded more or less 4,000 former rebels who surrendered to different military units.
Earlier, Capt Jerry Lamosao, the 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office chief, said that they are always monitoring NPA activies in schools. He said the indoctrination of students has been confirmed by former rebels who surrendered to the government.
“We remind the parents because their (kids) are targets in schools, especialy by those members who are really trained to recruit,” he said. “We are hoping that they don’t have the chance to come near or become friends with your children.”
Based on the record of 10th ID, there were 226 regular NPA members surrendered, 130 Milisyang Bayan, 35 Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL), 465 Underground Mass Organization (UGMO), 10 Left leaning organisation members who surrendered this year.
Lamosao slammed the NPA for continuing to recruit minors as combatants. According to him, about 30% of those who surrendered to the different units were underage when they joined the rebel group.