BAGUIO CITY— A total of 80 young leaders and students who joined the youth forum in Lagayan town in Abra condemned on Tuesday the New People’s Army (NPA) hostilities, urging the rebels to surrender and go back to the government fold.
“The youth forum was aimed to empower the sector who are most vulnerable. We wanted to educate them to prevent them from being recruited [by the NPA],” said Lt. Col. Jearie Boy Faminial, 24th Infantry Battalion “Wildcat” commander, which has jurisdiction over Abra province.
Faminial said it is a program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the local government units, other government agencies, that aims to educate the students and the young people about the various programs and projects of the government.
It is also primarily to inform the sector about NPA, and how the youth can avoid being a victim of the deception of the NPA, he said.
During the two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, the youth leaders held a peace rally against the communist terrorist group and their legal fronts in the town, carrying anti-communist/legal fronts posters and banners.
The young participants through the open letters called on the NPA to surrender and return to the fold of the government.
One letter written by a participant read “Dear NPA, gusto ko lang sabihin na sumuko na kayo dahil hindi pa huli ang lahat para kayo ay magkaroon ng bagong buhay at pag-asa para sa ika-uunlad ng ating bansa at para na rin sa inyong mga mahal sa buhay (I’d like to ask you to surrender because it is not yet too late to have a good life and there is hope for our country to progress. It is also for your loved ones).”
“To the NPA, Nakikiusap po kaming mga kabataan sa inyo na sumuko na po kayo para din ito sa ating lahat at sa ikakatahimik ng ating bansa. Hindi pa kayo nagsawa sa maduging labanan? Pilipino tayong lahat at dapat tayong magkaisa! Sana po dingin ninyo ang aming mga hiling, Salamat po (we, the youth, appeal to you to surrender for everybody’s peace and peace in our country. Are you not tired of the bloody battles? We are all Filipinos and we should be united. We hope that you will listen to us. Thank you),” another letter read.
“If they will be able to read these letters, I’m sure tears of longing from them will shed and weaken their will to end and leave their armed struggle,” Faminial said, adding that they have been doing the youth summit in several Abra towns like Tubo, Lacub and Licuan Baay.
Faminial said it is a whole-of-nation approach where various government agencies come together for an information campaign about their mandates and the benefits including the services that students can avail.
He said they do the activity to also bring the government offices closer to the different sectors so that they can assist in case the residents have something to clarify, ask help about or just to know what the government is doing for the people.
He added that “it is also aimed at bringing together the youth for camaraderie and linkages.”
Aside from government agencies, the graduates of the youth summit later on also serve as facilitators of the event. Liza Agoot / PNA – northboundasia.com