Exposing lies and deceptions of the New People’s Army in the recruitment of students is not militarization but a true exercise of academic freedom, Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said Saturday.
Addressing the recent issue of recruitment activities by communist rebels in schools, Arevalo spoke at a forum at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, before an estimated 2,000 students and teachers about the “Deceptive Youth Recruitment Strategy of the CPP-NPA-NDF”
“There is a tendency of some universities to think that it is only through hearing leftist ideas that they are able to practice academic freedom, but when the military is seen and heard in the campuses, they call it militarization. This is another lie and deception,” Arevalosaid.
A three-minute animated film “Pindoy”, which portrays how the CPP-NPA-NDF encroach on the schools and universities, mislead, and enrage students eventually turning them into NPA rebels, was also shown.
“Sadly, statistics tell us that many youth who joined the NPA perished during encounters with the military,” Arevalo said. “We should be able to distinguish activism from supporting terrorism,” he told the students.
The government respects academic freedom and allows the people to express what they want and criticize the flaws they see in the society. However, when a person starts to take up arms or support terrorist organizations like the CPP-NPA, that is already against the law and the government will act on it”, Arevalosaid.
He also cautioned students against joining militant organizations, and also warned them of CPP-NPA-NDF deceptions, their instilling into their minds hatred and violence.
Meanwhile, Migrante International and other progressive groups issued a statement strongly denouncing this vilification campaign against them during the forum, which it said meant to stoke repressive and violent attacks against their members.
It is no secret that organizers, volunteers and rights workers belonging to advocacy groups are being subjected to many forms of harassment, Migrante said.
Amidst the spate of killings in Negros instigated by Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32, this endless red tagging threatens the lives of Migrante officers and members, the statement added.
The USLS faculty headed by Dexter Ian Tabujara presented certificates of appreciation to Brig. Gen. Arevalo and Edwin Marthine Lopez, who also spoke about National Security from a different perspective during the forum.*
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