By DELIA BAGNI
BAGUIO CITY — Despite the earlier commitment of Baguio City Schools Division Superintendent Mary A. Lang-ayan to pull out Department of Education (DepEd) Baguio City Division Memorandum 68 issued last June 26 allowing elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to conduct symposium in public schools, the campaign still continues.
Langayan made the commitment before representations made by officers from human rights and women’s organizations here citing human rights violations made in the conduct of such.
On August 18, more than 40 fourth year students from Pines City National High school Pinget Annex were an audience to one of several such symposia recently conducted by members of the AFP on their campaign material “Knowing thy Enemy”.
The lecturers discussed and maliciously sited certain progressive organizations as the New People’s Army’ (NPA) legal organizations. The lecture was reportedly facilitated by certain Rudolf Balanay from Camp Allen.
Some of the minors present during the said lecture disclosed in an interview that among the groups mentioned to be NPA legal organizations are Anakbayan and Anakpawis. Balanay also told the student audience that most new NPA recruits come from the various campuses of the University of the Philippines (UP).
Nordis tried to interview teachers from the said school but they begged off and instructed the reporter to first seek the permission for an interview from the school’s teacher in charge. The teacher in charge at the time was in a meeting and cannot be disturbed.
During the said lecture the students were encouraged to ask questions but were told that the names of those who will ask questions will be listed. Some students chose not to ask questions due to fear of being accused as an NPA member and be included in the list of members of those they identified as NPA legal organizations.
The minors interviewed also disclosed that there are those who were brave enough to ask questions but were given childish and insufficient answers. One student was said to have asked, “Why then are the members of these organizations and UP students not being arrested if they are NPAs?”
Balanay told the students that there were evidences to prove the AFP allegations but members of the identified groups cannot be arrested because there are organizations considered as legal. He added that the members would only be arrested if they commit a criminal offense such as illegal possession of firearms.
Other students asked about the aim of the NPA and who are usually being recruited into the group. Balanay said the NPAs wanted to turn the Philippines into a communist country and that they recruit the youth even highschool and elementary students.
The students also asked if there are elements of the army or police who are members of the NPA and according to the lecturer, there are retired officers who joined the rebel group. # nordis.net