ILOILO CITY – The Western Visayas Regional Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF6-ELCAC) on Wednesday expressed its solidarity with Relissa Lucena in her quest to have her daughter back and be released from the influence of a militant group.
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Flosemer Chris Gonzales, spokesperson for the RTF6-ELCAC in a statement, called on peace-loving families and communities in the country to empathize with Lucena.
Lucena is the mother of Alicia Jasper (AJ), a student activist recruited by the militant group Anakbayan and went missing for years. She was reunited with her family on April 20 this year but was again taken from her family.
In her Facebook post on Aug. 16, Lucena said her daughter was kidnapped by two motorcycle-riding men around 9:55 a.m. on the same day. She said the motorcycle has no plate number.
In her released statement, she identified Anakbayan as the organization that took her daughter.
“Relissa Lucena, and many other mothers like her, are embracing an advocacy of peace, driven by their love for their children. And for this, we empathize with them,” he said.
He added that while AJ could argue that she has a life of her own and together with her colleagues come up with arguments on freedom of thought, expression, and the right to peaceful assembly, yet they can never stop a mother from loving her child.
The spokesperson added that Lucena believed that her child is not in a safe environment and is convinced that she lost her to an ideology that may endanger her life.
“She is hurt when her own daughter disowned her publicly. Despite the humiliation and the pain, Relissa struggled to have her daughter back,” he added.
The spokesperson said that the undisputed and undeniable fact showed that the terrorist organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) recruits children and turns them into armed fighters.
Many of them came from indigenous cultural communities and state universities and colleges (SUCs).
While several recruits became full-time members of the NPA, and got killed or captured, some gave up and eventually reunited with their families to live peacefully in their communities, Gonzales said.
He added that the task force believed that in time the mother will be vindicated.
“We can only hope and we can only pray that all Filipino children who have gone astray will be granted enlightenment and will see the futility and hopelessness of the lost cause that they have romanticized,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)