No red-tagging; NPA recruitment in schools real

By Nanette Guadalquiver

October 7, 2018, 7:51 pm

BACOLOD CITY -- The Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division has dismissed claims that the military is red-tagging schools in the reported recruitment of students by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Capt. Eduardo Precioso Jr., chief of 3rd Division Public Affairs Office based in Iloilo City, said in a statement over the weekend the rebel group has been employing a “deceptive tactic” to recruit students in Central and Western Visayas to become fighters and cadres.

“There has been no red-tagging,” Precioso said, but he confirmed that the rebel recruitment is actually happening in certain schools.

He said what the Army is “trying to deliver is a message that the CPP-NPA terrorist is recruiting students in several schools through legal front organizations and school organizations.”

Precioso, however, said they prefer not to release the list of said schools.

“We cannot give the name of these institutions, though we all know there are schools that have become a source of NPA recruits and or being used as platforms for recruitment,” he added.

Precioso said the Philippine Army wants to inform the school administrators, students, and parents about what is happening the “soonest as possible to prevent the students from joining the terrorist group.”

“What we are trying to do now is to communicate with the school administrators to explain to them the deceptive way of the CPP-NPA and how to prevent this kind of situation to protect the students,” he added.

Precioso noted that students became vulnerable targets of the CPP-NPA after the Citizens Army Training (CAT) and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) became optional.

“We have to push through with the implementation of mandatory ROTC before our youth will continuously fall victim to recruitment. We also urge the students to be critical in joining organizations that are affiliated with terror groups,” he added. (PNA)