Relissa Lucena, mother of Alicia Jasper, a student activist. (File photo)

MANILA – Relissa Lucena, mother of Alicia Jasper, a student activist who was reportedly recruited by a militant organization, reminisced the many happy years of celebrating Mother's Day with her daughter.

"Lagi kaming magkakasama tuwing Mother's Day at madalas nasa Parañaque kasama ang lolo at lola nila (we always spent time together on Mother's Day, we would celebrate in Parañaque with their grandparents)," Lucena told the Philippine News Agency on Sunday.

Lucena said she misses Alicia, especially her sweet gestures at home.

"Pagkagising nila sa umaga at pagkakita nila agad sa akin, lalapit at hahalik, sabay bati ng 'Happy Mother's Day' mommy! (When they wake up early morning, as soon as they see me, they would immediately approach me and kiss me, and they would greet 'Happy Mother's Day mommy')," she said.

Lucena said Alicia used to be a sweet child before she was introduced to militant group Anakbayan.

She recalled how Alicia was so caring as a daughter and as a sister to her siblings.

"Hindi ko mawari at maisip kung anong klaseng idelohiya at propaganda ang ibinigay nila sa mga bata para makalimutan nila kami nang tuluyan, kalimutan ang pamilya nila (I can't even think about the kind of ideology and propaganda they introduced to these children that they would totally forget us and forget their families)," she said.

Lucena expressed anxiety as she longs for her child especially during the celebration of Mother's Day.

"It really breaks my heart observing this special day without my eldest, Alicia," she said.

Attempts to reach out

She said she realized that Mother's Day couldn't even make her feel special when she can't even protect, hold and talk to her daughter.

"Takot at lungkot ang nararamdaman ko para kay Alicia. Walang sapat na salita ang makakapaglarawan nito (I feel sad for Alicia. No words can even completely describe what I feel right now)," she said.

She added that it is even harder to offer support for her fellow mothers whose children were also recruited by various militant organizations.

"No one understands what we are going through right now, while other children are physically showing love and care for their mothers, here we are, still longing for our children to come back home," she said, citing Elvy Caalaman's daughter Lory, who also became a full-time activist.

She said they have been repeatedly attempting to communicate with their children and convince them to return home.

"It's uncomfortable to think that it's their choice to leave us, their families, and that they chose to stay away from us," she added, believing that Alicia and her fellow student activists were only indoctrinated by the wrong ideologies of the militant groups.

"All these children need care and protection from their parents, we will not be able to do that if they will not bring them back to us," she said.

She said this special day has never been the same since Alicia left their home.

"Paano ako magiging nanay kay Alicia kung wala siya dito? Paano ko siya mapoprotektahan kung hindi ko siya kasama? (How could I become a mother to Alicia if she is not here? How could I protect her if she's not with me?)," Lucena said, saying that most parents whose children were also recruited by the militant groups feel the same way.

"I pray for the protection of our children. We will keep our eyes open. We will take some actions to end the spread of wrong ideologies of these militant organizations to our youths and we hope the whole Makabayan bloc will send back these children to their real families," she said.

Mother's fight

Lucena said she won't stop fighting against militant organizations until she gets Alicia back to their family.

She said she can't afford to stay at home and do nothing about Alicia's situation, especially that the whole country is confronting a health crisis.

"I need to fight for my daughter no matter what. I will not stop being a mother to her," she said, noting that along with his husband Francis, they filed an urgent petition for writs of habeas corpus and amparo before the Supreme Court.

The petition she said, will ask the high court to compel Anakbayan and Kabataan Party-list to return recruited youths to the custody of their parents and to comply with the implementing rules under the Republic Act 11469 or the "Bayanihan To Heal as One Act."

Meanwhile, anti-communist groups backed the filing of these petition before the high court.

Remy Rosadio, League of Parents in the Philippines (LPP) chairperson, said the alleged front-organizations of the communist groups are just confusing the youth, and even indoctrinating wrong ideas on government efforts to address the health crisis.

"Ito po ang epidemya ng Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), halos 50 taon at mahigit ang panggugulo at pananalanta ng epidemyang ito sa ating lipunan, libu-libo ng inosenteng mamamayan na ang namatay dito (This CPP-NPA-NDF is contagious, it has been destroying our society, thousands of innocent people have been killed)," she said.

Rosadio said the anti-communist groups, along with the parents of the recruited student activists, will not stop condemning the acts of communist rebels and the recruitment of minors of its allied organizations. (PNA)