Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija — To prevent the recruitment of the CPP-NPA-NDF among the youth and to encourage youth participation in nation-building, the 71st Infantry (KAIBIGAN) Battalion, Philippine Army conducted a Virtual Youth Forum dubbed as “Kaibigan: Protect the Youth, Protect the Future”.
Said forum was attended by the different Youth Leaders of Abra and the members of Sangguniang Kabataan via Zoom on October 07, 2021, Thursday.
Mr. Ednhel Jann Balneg, the Youth for Peace (YFP) Abra Chapter Adviser discussed the Role of the Youth in Nation Building during the forum.
“Youth is the driving force of the nation as you embody the spirit of volunteerism, intellect and youthful idealism. Let us use this to steer our country to greater heights,” said Balneg as he emphasized the role of the youth.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Mario Jose M. Chico (Ret), Deputy Director for Operations, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Secretariat expounded on the Youth Infiltration and the deceptive recruitment of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG).
“The best antidote of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s deceptive recruitment is awareness. I encouraged the youth to help in the effort to prevent extremism among the youth,” said LTC Chico (Ret).
To better appreciate the discussion, former rebels – Daniel Castillo alias Ka Steven, former Political Instructor of the Guerilla Front 55 and former UP Anakbayan and Joy James Saguino alias Ka Amihan, a cadre of the CTG in Southern Mindanao, and also a UP Visayas Anakbayan/LFS official, were invited as resource speaker to share their experiences on how they were recruited by the CTG affiliated organizations until they became regular members and cadre of the NPA.
Lt. Col. Sonny E. Gonzales, Commanding Officer of 71st IB said, “Walang ibang gagawin ang mga kabataan kundi mag- aral nang mabuti at maging productive at responsableng mamamayan ng inyong komunidad at nang ating bansa. Maging aktibo kayo sa pakikilahok sa mga gawaing may kabuluhan. Wag nating hayaan na marami pa sa hanay ng mga kabataan ang malinlang na makilahok sa armadong pakikibaka at later on, namamatay sa engkwentro dahil sa maling desisyon at organisasyon na sinalihan” LtCol Gonzales added, citing the youth victims of the CTG.
The Acting Commander of the 7th Infantry (KAUGNAY) Division, Philippine Army, Brigadier General Luis Rex D. Bergante PA, commended the troops for this initiative as it will raise the awareness among the youth of Abra.
“Sa pamamagitan ng gawaing ito ating naipapamulat sa kabataan ang tunay na anyo at hangarin ng CTG. We are exposing the lies and deception of the enemy to save the lives of our youth who are vulnerable to CTG’s recruitment. Napakarami nang nagpatunay na walang katuturan ang pagsali sa grupong ito, kaya naman mas pinapaigting pa namin ang aming kampanya upang mas marami pang kabataan ang mailigtas sa kapahamakan na dulot ng teroristang grupo,” said BGen Bergante.