More than 100 students, who attended the pre-celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines founding anniversary, in a remote barangay in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, have not attended their classes for fear of being arrested by the police and military, Col. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday.
Arevalo said the students were invited to attend the pre-anniversary celebration of the CPP in Sitio Cambairan, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, on Dec. 18 last year.
Video footage of the students and minors participating and witnessing the celebration was taken and downloaded in social media, and this alarmed their parents, Arevalo said.
Worse, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Madriaga, 302rd Infantry Brigade commander, also revealed yesterday that some of the invited students from Brgy. Macagahay, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, and some schools in the uplands of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, participated in the military parade and formation, wearing NPA uniforms and carrying firearms.
Madriaga also said that the NPA warned the students of being arrested by the police and military, who simultaneously conducted the One Time Big Time operations at that time, that had led to the killing of six persons and arrest of more than 60 others.
Arevalo said that what the NPA did to the minors and students was in violation of RA 7610, otherwise known as the "Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.”
“They are blackmailing the students”, Arevalo said, and also stressed that the CPP-NPA wants to recruit them.
Madriaga yesterday clarified to the parents of the students that they are not the targets of military operations.
“They are victims of deceptions by the communist terrorist organization, he said, and stressed that they will not be arrested in they return to their schools.
Arevalo also urged the students to go back to their schools and attend their classes.
About 100 residents of Barangay Linantuyan in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, held a condemnation rally on Jan. 14 in the barangay, denouncing the numerous atrocities perpetrated by the NPA, the latest of which was the killing of CAFGU member Joseph Gabia.
Lt. Col. Randy Pagunuran, newly-designated commander of the 94th Infantry Battalion commander, said the indignation rally showed the true sentiments of the populace, contrary to NPA claims that the residents are rejoicing over the killing of Gabia.
Pagunuran justified the presence of his troops during the indignation rally, as being in support to the quest for justice by the victims of NPA atrocities.
Shortly before the indignation rally, 94IB troopers figured in an encounter with about seven NPA rebels in Brgy. Banwage, Guihulngan City.
However, no casualty was reported on both sides. But Army soldiers recovered a backpack containing a binocular and personal belongings, among other items.*
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