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NCRPO, AFP step up partnership to address NPA threat in Metro Manila

THE National Capital Region Police Office and the Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force NCR have further stepped-up their partnership to fight the threat being posed by the New People’s Army specifically in the recruitment of minors in Metro Manila, officials said yesterday.

According to NCRPO director, Major General Vicente D. Danao Jr., they have just recently finished a seven-day Retooled Community Support Program-Counter White Area Operations at the NCRPO headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City as part of their partnership.

A total of 93 personnel composed of 43 from the NCRPO, four from the PNP Special Action Force and 40 from the AFP participated in the training which aimed to produce effective teams of speakers and lecturers who will be tasked to disseminate to the public and other law enforcement agencies the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines’ programs, projects and activities.

Danao admitted that the presence of some groups and personalities enticing children to go to schools to learn of NPA teachings is also a concern they are trying to address.

“It’s one area of concern we’re looking at present but since there are no face-to-face classes in Metro Manila under the new normal, I think there’s none here at present. But we can’t discount the possibility that they (NPA) will entice the youth to join them,” said the Metro Manila police director.

According to Danao, ongoing efforts of the communist movement to recruit Filipino youths into their ranks is one of the reasons why they are visiting different barangays in the metropolis and talking with village leaders, parents and other members of the community.

Danao said they hope to train and produce more best speakers for the PNP and the AFP with their ongoing effort to enhance their partnership with the community and make them fully aware of the threats posed on their daily lives by the NPA movement.

“We are particularly wary of the future of the youth and students being often victimized and recruited by the rebels apart from those belonging to the urban poor, women and labor group,” said the NCRPO director.

Army Brigadier Gen. Marceliano V. Teofilo extended the AFP’s gratitude to Danao for his effort to strengthen the camaraderie between the police and the military which the latter started back in Mindanao all the way to Calabarzon region prior to his designation as Metro Manila police chief.

“The fight against terrorism cannot be done by AFP alone, the PNP alone or local government alone. It has to be a united effort from all of us in order to ensure peace and order in the region. Ang ugnayan na ito ay hindi matatapos sa ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) operations, kundi sa lahat ng operation ng NCRPO, makakaasa kayo na nandyan palagi ang JTF-NCR at AFP na buong pusong nakasuporta sa NCRPO,” Teofilo said.

Danao underscored the fact that the problem of communist insurgency in the country is already more than 52 years. “I am very glad that we have this training with the JTF-NCR. Accordingly, the training will not be wasted. We need to engage the community,” the official said.

Danao emphasized the need for the people to feel and understand that the government is caring for them and will address issues on criminality, insurgency and even abusive acts being committed by some rogue law enforcement officers and public officials.

“Let us just continue what we have started. There is no perfect organization, there is no perfect person, no perfect brother neither no perfect family but if you are just doing your best and give our very best, surely we will succeed and attain victory,” Danao told the participants.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, General Debold M. Sinas earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte had instructed him to rescue children who are being ‘forcibly deceived’ by the CPP/NPA to go to so-called Salugpungan schools in some parts of the country.

“The President’s instruction is to recover these children and return them to their parents in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” the PNP chief said.

Government, military and police officials have also been told to refrain from using the word ‘Lumad’ to describe members of Mindanao indigenous tribes amid revelations it has been used by the NPA to advance their teachings among poor tribesmen living in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas in the region specifically in Southern Mindanao.

The underground movement, security and intelligence officials said, has established the so-called ‘Lumad Mindanao and now ‘Kalumaran’ as their open organization in the region, taking advantage of the poor and impoverished tribesmen’s lack of education to pounce on the poor governance issue.

This has prompted Sinas to instruct all 17 police regional directors and the PNP intelligence community to monitor the presence of suspected NPA recruitment schools and undertake efforts to recover the children.

He also ordered his men to go all-out against persons and groups recruiting or enticing minors including those belonging to indigenous tribes in Mindanao to join the NPA, in the process separating them from their parents, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

Duterte also instructed the PNP to arrest all those responsible for the recruitment or in enticing minors to join underground leftist groups specifically the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The President also ordered the PNP to rescue the victims of rebel recruitment and bring them back to their respective parents. Top target of the presidential order are those behind the activities of so-called ‘Salugpungan’ schools.

Duterte instructed the PNP to file necessary charges against the perpetrators and to follow-up on cases that have been previously filed. At the same time, he wanted the PNP to identify all local officials and businessmen supporting the rebel group.

The presidential directive came after police and social welfare officers rescued 19 indigenous tribe children from Talaingod, Davao del Norte inside a retreat house of the Jesuit-run University of San Carlos in Talamban, Cebu City last month.