MANILA – Ruthless members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) conduct recruitment within their families, luring even children as their membership continues to decrease.
The health crisis has suspended face-to-face classes since last year, thus depriving the CPP-NPA of the chance to entice students to leave schools and join them.
The insurgents have since turned to relatives and indigenous peoples communities, not sparing even minors, according to Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.
“So ang nangyayari is that pati na rin iyong mga kamag-anak nilang mga bata, hinihikayat nila na maging miyembro ng New People’s Army. So that’s one very sad fact na nalaman po namin dito ‘no recently doon sa mga nag-surrender po sa atin (What happens is they persuade their younger relatives, even children, to be NPA members. That’s what we learned recently from those who have surrendered to us),” Brawner bared during the “Tagged” virtual media briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Monday.
But Brawner said the CPP-NPA has lost the trust and support of the masses.
“Wala na rin silang mga suporta doon sa taumbayan. Even iyong mga mass bases nila, wala na rin po silang masyadong suporta. So ang nagsusuporta na lang po sa kanila ay iyong mga kamag-anak din nila (They also do not have the support of the people anymore, even from their mass bases, so the only ones left supporting them are their relatives),” he said.
Brawner said the military is communicating with and reaching out to relatives of NPA members to enlighten them on why they should not join the armed struggle.
Between Sept. 8 and 10, five NPA members aged 11 to 17 were rescued during a series of clashes between government troops and rebels in Bukidnon.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-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)