VIGAN CITY, June 24 (PIA) – Member-agencies of the Regional/Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (R/PTF-ELCAC), including a former cadre, urged more than 200 youth students and leaders in Ilocos Sur to join and trust the government’s programs and initiatives to put an end to the deception of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“I enjoin and challenge you to work together with us in our continuous crusade in protecting you, our children, and the next generations to come from the harmful recruitment of these groups,” Regional Director Jennilyne Role of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Ilocos Region told the youth participants of the virtual forum conducted by the PIA Ilocos Sur Information Center on June 17.
“I appeal to all of you to be our partner for change, be our multiplier and stewards of good news. As we arm you with the truth, be decisive, watchful and truthful. Be part in this noble agenda of the government as we shape a better Philippines to live in,” she said.
Regional Director Role added that former officials and members of the CPP-NPA-NDF who have turned their back and joined the government are living witnesses of how intense the lies were and how life was difficult for them while in the hands of these groups.
Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz, chair of Sentrong Alyansa ng Mamamayan Para sa Bayan (SAMBAYANAN), is one of them.
As a former cadre and operative of the CPP-NPA-NDF in Western Visayas under the CPP Regional Urban Party Committee in Panay Island, he narrated during the forum his experiences and learnings after being with the communist terrorist group for more than 20 years.
“Mahirap. Pinakamahirap ay iyong marealize mo after the military action na kapwa Pilipino mo rin ang namamatay. Nasa panganib ka lagi at palagi kayong kulang ng tulog, kulang ng pagkain at nasa marahas na pamumuhay. I have already come face-to-face with death. So every time na mangyari iyon, pagsisisi at konsensya ang nararamdaman ko. Hindi ko alam kung makakabalik pa ako nang buhay sa mga anak ko. And that is the reason na umalis ako. Gayundin sa kadahilanan na nakikita ko na ang pagkalugmok ng disiplina at totoong prinsipyo sa pamumuno ng tamang organisasyon na nagpapakilalang rebolusyonaryo kasi makikita mo na rin ang karahasan at abuso sa loob ng organisasyon,” Celiz said.
He then urged the youth to be wary of CPP-NPA-NDF recruitment in their schools and in their community.
“There will never be a perfect government, neither will there be a perfect society pero hindi ito dahilan na tayo ay magrebelde – humawak ng armas at magpatayan ng bawat kapwa Pilipino. Sapagkat ang talo at masisira niyan ay buong bayan. Mahalin natin ang bansang Pilipinas. Magtiwala tayo that transformative governance will start by making changes at the community level, inside our family and inside our own self,” he told the youth.
“Ang pagkakaroon ng tamang pamamahala ay magmumula sa mulat na pakikilahok ng kanyang mamamayan. Let us broaden our participation mula doon sa pamayanan at komunidad, sa eskwelahan o paaralan, at sa ating sector. The people will always be the real makers of history. At ang lipunan at kaunlaran ng isang bayan ay nagmumula sa pagpapanday ng kanyang mamamayan, sa tamang pamumuno ng matuwid na pamamahala… kung saan tayo papunta,” Celiz ended.
Provincial Director Randy dela Rosa of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Brigadier General Krishnamurti Mortela of the Army’s 702nd Infantry Brigade also joined the forum and imparted their knowledge and insights on the vital role of the youth in countering CPP-NPA-NDF recruitment. (JCR/AMB/JMCQ, PIA Ilocos Sur)