Monday, March 19, 2012

Reds out to infiltrate Cebu anew, says military

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The New People’s Army (NPA) is again out to infiltrate Cebu, which has been declared insurgency-free by the Armed Forces two years ago.

Lt. Col. Nolasco Mempin, commanding officer of the Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion, revealed this following reports that legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are recruiting students.

Mempin said they are monitoring some high school students in the northern town of San Remegio who are reportedly being recruited by the militant League of Filipino Students (LFS).

Rep. Pastor Alcover Jr. was earlier quoted as saying that no less than CPP chairman Jose Ma. Sison said the LFS is one of the sectoral front organizations of the rebel movement.

“With Joma Sison’s statement of acknowledgement, no one can ever dispute the facts on the real character of LFS vis-à-vis its role in the Maoist terrorist national democratic revolution,” Alcover said.

The LFS played a crucial role in dismantling military presence in campuses and in the restoration of student publications and student councils, its website said.

The Freeman tried but failed to contact the LFS mobile hotline for its comment.

The 78th IB is now coordinating with the municipal government of San Remegio in monitoring students.

Mempin urged parents to monitor the activities of their children and verify what organization they are joining.

Legal fronts of CPP-NPA usually introduced projects and programs that would benefit their target group and as soon as they are convinced, indoctrination would follow, he said.

“These students may have already joined the group and were brought to Negros Island,” Mempin said.

Communist rebels are still operating in some areas in Negros, and Mempin said Cebu is their source of logistics and financial support.

“Cebu is very rich in resources and ideal people like the students,” Mempin said.
Mempin urged the people to be vigilant and report to local authorities suspicious groups that are conducting activities in the area.

He gave assurance that the military is there to help the community in maintaining peace and order and even during calamities and disasters.

In March 2010, the military declared Cebu insurgency-free and turned over the lead role in internal security to local executives and police.

The Armed Forces’ Civil Relations Service continues to coordinate with local leaders to encourage rebels to return to the fold of the law.

The 78th IB also sustains community development programs such as medical and dental missions to address the roots of insurgency.

The military has said that an area can be declared insurgency-free if the communist movement is non-existent or is too insignificant to affect the lives of local folk.

In 2006, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia declared an all-out war on insurgency and introduced a comprehensive package of services for rebel returnees.

Since then, hundreds of rebel returnees were given livelihood assistance amounting to P35,000 each.

Freeman News Service | The Philippine Star | March 19, 2012 | Article Link