Anakbayan-Cebu denies urging youth to join NPA

ACTIVIST group Anakbayan-Cebu Chapter denied allegations that it is drilling Cebu youth in engaging in terrorist acts and sharing with them propaganda to entice them to join the National People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

This came after the group was mentioned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as among the groups with communist links that have been targeting the youth sector, particularly in Cebu, to hasten the evolution of a revolutionary situation in Central Visayas.

Kei Galon, chairperson of Anakbayan-Cebu, told SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, that they are only raising awareness among the youth of their rights and the country’s issues for their own good.

Galon said Anakbayan has been a legal mass organization for a long time since 1998, and it has actively joined various sectors of society to carry out mass campaigns.

Among these campaigns she mentioned are the calls of communities and localities for work, living wages, real land reform, education, basic services, and rights.

Galon stressed the importance of people acting together to spare themselves from hardships brought about by the “scourging and anti-people” policies that started during former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada’s administration until the current “Marcos II-Duterte” regime, referring to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte who are both scions of former Presidents—the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and Rodrigo Duterte, the predecessor of Marcos Jr.

Though she did not have data to support her statement, Galon said that since these administrations started, thousands of lives had been lost, people’s rights were violated, and no real justice was enjoyed.

On Nov. 16, Col. Joey Escanillas, commander of the AFP Joint Task Force Cebu, said the youth sector in Cebu has become the target for recruitment of the CPP.

Escanillas said the CPP intends to take advantage of the “unpolluted, idealistic nature and positive attitude” that the youth possess and use such a mindset to supplement its ongoing political struggle.

He said data from the AFP showed that as of December 2021, 609 members of at least four known activist groups in Cebu, including Anakbayan-Cebu, are youth.

Krisland Pepito, president of the Youth for Peace Bisdakk (Batan-on sa Isla sa Sugbo, Dalangpan alang sa Kalinaw ug Kalambuan), said the communist ways of recruiting the youth are through peace camps, but they teach them how to use guns and bring them to upland areas.

Shella Carpina, president of the Supreme Student Government of Cebu Normal University, denied allegations on behalf of the Cebu City Federation of Tertiary Supreme Student Councils and Governments (CCFTSSCG), saying they do not entertain communist groups or participate in any of their activities to address youth concerns.

Carpina said the CCFTSSCG had been closely coordinating with the local government units to address youth problems.