THE Bulacan local government headed by Governor Daniel Fernando and the local police force led by Colonel Chito Bersaluna have stepped-up their effort to counter the New People’s Army’s recruitment program in different state colleges and universities in the province, officials said yesterday.
The Bulacan LGU and police force have adopted a multi-stakeholder approach targeting vulnerable sectors of the community in support of the government’s continuing fight against the communist insurgency.
The local government and the police have already identified state colleges and universities in the province as hotbeds for NPA recruitment prompting them to launch a mult-sectoral forum in order to educate students and youth leaders on the methods being used by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the NPA to bring new members to its fold.
“Ilagay ninyo sa inyong pag-iisip ang mga pangarap n’yo, na maayos ang inyong buhay, dahil iyon lang ang magiging ugat din ng pag-unlad ng buhay n’yo— yung malayo kayo sa temptation na inaakit kayo ng kabila,” Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Spokesperson, retired Police Brigadier General Wilben M. Mayor told the student-participants during the event.
According to Mayor, students are among the Reds’ primary targets of recruitment, especially the brilliant ones. “You will be encouraged to join seemingly legitimate endeavors, but sooner or later, you will realize that those endeavors are supported by the CPP-NPA,” he said.
Bersaluna for his part called on their partner agencies to step up their respective efforts to help address the decades-long communist insurgency. “We need to create communities that are conflict-resilient, and we need the constant cooperation of local and national government agencies to attain peace,” the Bulacan police director said.
Speaking on behalf of Presidential Peace Adviser, Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., Mayor said they are implementing the ‘whole-of-nation-approach’ in dealing with the communist insurgency. He said that under Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Duterte, Cabinet officers were appointed as Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security or CORDS.
Sec. Galvez, a former Armed Forces chief of staff was appointed by President Duterte as the CORDS for Region 3. Among his major responsibilities is to facilitate the immediate resolution of issues that trigger armed conflict in communities.
“If left unresolved, these concerns are easily exploited by the CPP-NPA-NDF, and used as ammunition in blaming the government for its supposed inaction,” Mayor said.
Also present during the event were Police Regional Office 3 Deputy Regional Director for Operaitons, Col. Rhoderick Armamento; Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Felix Valdez and CPP-NPA-NDF Panel Secretariat Adviser, retired Gen. Abraham Casis.
Last month, the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) III declared the CPP-NPA as ‘Persona Non Grata’ in Central Luzon.
“Ang Persona Non Grata ay ginagawa po natin para ipaabot sa kanilang grupo (CPP-NPA) na ang kanilang mga ginagawa ay hindi katanggap-tanggap sa lahat ng tao sa rehiyon,” Galvez said during the meeting of RTF-ELCAC III last July in Pampanga.
Bulacan is a strategic area for the CPP-NPA because it is a transit point to Metro Manila, Mayor said.
With Jun Christopher Balangatan