June 17, 2024

Right information for youth’s protection needed

Concerned organizations and groups that are reportedly affiliated with the National Democratic Front (NDF) were enraged by a recent online lecture under the National Service Training Program (NSTP).
The lecture provided the students of one of the higher education institutions in Baguio with information on various threat groups, including the designated terrorist organization Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
As expected, these groups circulated social media alerts, held a social media rally, and staged a protest on Nov. 8, as they criticized the administration of a university, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines over said lecture, which they again linked with their invented term “red-tagging”.
Following the protests, these youth groups came up with mass orientation online. These activities will run the entire November, obviously for purposes of “recruitment” and to come up with venue to deny the truth behind their intentions that was exposed by the NSTP online lecture.
I have witnessed firsthand, as a former member of one of these groups under the NDF, how a well-meaning activity is twisted to create an impression among students that their academic freedom and right to peaceful assembly are being curtailed by the government.
They can make noise all they want but there is no denying that several students who started with these youth organizations ended by getting killed when they joined the NPA. Such is the case of Finela Mejia, who started as a Kabataan party-list member in Baguio City and died as an NPA member in Ilocos Sur in February 2020. There are many others who suffered the same fate.
It is the duty of the authorities and the schools to prevent this from happening to students. Prohibiting them from providing the right information to protect the students is unreasonable and unacceptable.
These groups that lead our youth to perdition have no right whatsoever to oblige authorities to heed their irrational demands, more so if these will endanger the lives of our youth.
To my fellow youth, I call you to focus on preparing for our role as future leaders of this nation. Be part of this country’s success and not its downfall. — MIKAEL SORIANO, youth representative, Nagkakaisang Samahan para sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran