MANILA — Several parents of missing students who were allegedly recruited by leftist groups decried the progressive movements’ actions before the Senate, saying it was not the future they want for their children.
In a hearing conducted by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs on Wednesday, Jovita Antonio said her 17-year old daughter grew up obedient and cheerful, but things changed since she joined a leftist organization.
“Wala na akong alam kung nasaan ang anak ko, isang taon na syang hindi umuuwi at hindi namin nakakausap (I have no idea where my child is, it’s been one year since she went home and a year since our last contact),” she said.
Mothers of five missing students recounted their ordeal when their children became estranged and lost contact with them.
Three of the missing were senior high school students of state-run Polytechnic University of the Philippines, while one was a student of Far Eastern University and another from the University of the East Manila.
All of them were allegedly recruited by alleged communist-front organization Anakbayan.
Jovita’s husband, Junior, expressed in desperation, “maski text or isang chat wala na, buti pa ang nagda-dugs eh nakikita mo pa (There’s nothing, not even a text or chat, [I think] it’s worse than taking drugs, at least their parents get to see them)”.
Committee chair and former police chief, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa explained that it is “harder to rehabilitate” those indoctrinated by the communist ideology than illegal drug use.
“Pero ‘yung kumunismo, ang utak nyan kung walang proper intervention…hindi mawawala ‘yung kanyang pagka-radical na utak. So mas mabigat na kalaban talaga ‘yan…(But communism, if there is no proper intervention, it will be hard to get away from radicalism),” dela Rosa said.
Relissa Lucena, meanwhile, also broke down as she narrated how the behavior of her daughter changed after attending a training at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.
“Na proud ako kasi UP yan eh, tapos ite-train daw sila ng journalism, editor-in-chief kasi sya sa publication nila nung high school. Pero pagkatapos nun hindi na sya nagpapahatid kahit umuulan, hindi raw uuwi kasi may training na naman sa Los Banos (I was proud because UP invited her for a journalism training. She’s editor-in-chief in their high school pub, [it’s her forte]. But after that she would refuse that I drive her to school even if it’s raining. She would say no because they have another training in Los Banos),” she said.
Lucena enrolled her daughter in FEU in Manila to keep her away from leftist groups.
However, during the first week of school, her daughter told her that she attended a protest rally on the day of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) with Anakbayan.
“Ang anak ko walang alam sa mundo, first time pa lang siyang lumayo sa bahay namin, hindi pa siya ganun ka exposed. Pero nung first semester nakita ko na ‘yung changes. Matigas na siya. Nag-open siya sa akin, Anakbayan na daw siya at lider na siya (My child doesn’t know the world yet. It’s her first time to be far from us, she’s not that exposed. But I saw her change during her first semester in school. She became hard-headed. She said she’s a member of Anakbayan and she’s a leader),” she said.
“Sinasabihan ko siya na huwag ka diyan. Against ako sa ginagawa nila pero hindi naman sa pinaglalaban nila (I told her not to get involved. I’m not against what they fight for, I’m against with how they do it),” she added.
She said when her daughter started getting home late or would not go home for days, she reported to school and police authorities and talked to her.
Her daughter said she is already a “full-time” member of Anakbayan.
“Sabi niya full-time na siya sa Anakbayan. Nung nalaman niyang nagsumbong ako, sabi niya kalaban na daw ako, huwag ko na daw isipin na may anak siya at ayaw na niyang mag-aral,” Lucena said.
Lucena said her daughter already left their home and her efforts to get her back were unsuccessful.
She said her daughter even called her an oppressor.
“Nakita ko siya may hawak na placard, ang dugyot niyang tingnan, naka-tsinelas lang. Yung anak ko halos ayaw kong padapuan ng langaw tapos ganun ang gagawin nila (I saw her holding a placard, she looked untidy, only wearing slippers),” she said.
She added that her daughter also became part of a group posting campaign materials for party-list and then-senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares during the May 2019 elections.
Dela Rosa, for his part, also expressed his dismay on state-owned universities and proposed a plan to put a corresponding sanction for allowing communism to corrupt the students’ minds.
“The irony of it, these state-owned universities produce rebels. The government’s resources are spent on producing radicals, communists,” he said, as he called on schools to also check if teachers are responsible for the indoctrination of communist ideology. Christine Cudis / PNA – northboundasia.com