Former rebels confirm recruitment of students

Allen told the Senate panel on public order and dangerous drugs on Wednesday, Aug. 14, that she was recruited by the League of Filipino Students when she was 16 years old and a student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa. She later became a member of the New People’s Army. /Meanne Corvera/Eagle News/

(Eagle News)–Several former rebels on Wednesday, Aug. 14, confirmed the Communist group was recruiting students to be its members.

One of those who made the confirmation before the Senate panel on public order and dangerous drugs was Allen, who was wearing a hoodie and was very emotional when she spoke.

According to Allen, she was recruited by the League of Filipino Students in 2014, when she was a  16-year-old student of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa.

She said during that time, they would hold protests on campus and this was approved by some of their professors.

After three years, she said she became a member of the New People’s Army.

In October 2017, she said she joined the unit in Mindanao in October 2017, and spent three months in Bukidnon and three months in the Compostela Valley.

She said she left the group in April 2018, with a member who became her husband.

When she got pregnant, she asked for help from the group but the group did not help her, prompting her to surrender to the military.

“Nagdesisyon akong magsalita para makarating sa mga dati kong kasamahan na maawa kayo sa mga magulang na gusto lang kasama ‘yung anak nila,” she said.

Agnes Reano, for her part, said she was recruited by the Alliance of Students Against Tuition Fee Increase when she was a student at the Ateneo de Naga University.

She said she was later brought to Bukidnon where the LFS was launched.

Her first assignment, she said, was to transport ammunition to Legaspi.

“Kung tatanungin nyo po ako kung may recruitment sa school, definitely meron. Kami po ang kongkretong batayan,” Reano said.

Missing minors

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, panel chair, for his part, denied his investigation was meant to harass student activists.

He said they only wish to protect students from being recruited by the NPA.

Based on information given to him, Dela Rosa said 12 minors were still missing after being recruited.

The military has also said the members of the group go to the extent of killing their members who wish to leave, and then blame the same on the Army.

Earlier, the Palace expressed concern over the so-called recruitment after some parents grieved over their missing children who supposedly joined the movement.

“If the left-leaning organization is found to be allied with organizations that are subversive of our democratic society, then it becomes wrong and illegal,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had said. Meanne Corvera