General Gilbert Gapay, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) are among tertiary schools with NPA recruitment.
The government security forces have been exerting efforts to make their presence safe in universities and colleges to prevent NPA recruitment.
“We go to various schools, universities to really inform them of the threat of the NPA recruitment. The front organizations of the rebels have been saying that it is not true, but just recently, our troops on the ground have engaged in encounters with students (from) PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) and UP (University of the Philippines),” said Gapay.
The military official said that aside from the students, it is their parents who suffered the most because parents would only know that their children were already members of the NPA after their children got killed in the encounters.
“All along, they thought that their children were in school, but they did not know that their children were already recruited and were being exposed to training in battle and being taught to shoot,” said Gapay.
UP, PUP among schools with NPA recruitment – AFP exec
Gapay, however, clarified that the military and the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) presence in universities and colleges focuses more on leadership and awareness programs.
“This is what we are addressing, the awareness program that this is the modus of the NPA. They would capitalize on youth idealism and adventurism, and they cannot go out because they are being threatened that they would be killed,” said Gapay.
“We are doing this to really develop the students into responsible, patriotic citizens of our country. In all these activities, we are joined by the PNP in really protecting our youth from NPA recruitment,” he added.
In July, NPA member Malvin Christian V. Cruz was killed in an encounter. He was recruited by the armed rebel group when he was only 17 years old and studying Bachelor of Arts in Statistics at the University of the Philippines Visayas-Miagao.