The Commission on Higher Education-Region 1, in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency, conducted a webinar on the Peace Education Project (PEP) for student leaders from different universities and colleges of Region 1 held on August 17 – 18, 2021, via Zoom.
The webinar focused on Peace Education, emphasizing the role of the youth as the catalyst of social change. The said event forged awareness about communist terrorism that might influence the youth, particularly students.
Ms. Diana Jane Dacayan-Tabisuara, one of the resource speakers, said that the CPP/NDF/NPA targets recruiting youth mainly because they are easy to manipulate and influence.
"Pumupunta sila sa mga unibersidad para i-discuss mismo sa loob ng classrooms ang kanilang mga ipinaglalaban. Walang kaalam-alam ang mga estudyante na paraan nila ito para impluwensyahan silang magalit sa gobyerno,” she further explained.
During the webinar, “Ka Greg,” a former recruit of New People’s Army (NPA) gave his testimony from his past experiences in affiliation with the said communist group. "Nakita ko kung gaano kahirap ang buhay sa kabundukan ng Abra noong nanirahan ako kasama ang mga miyembro ng CPP/NPA," he said.
According to him, he and her comrades were taught basic military and combat skills. “Ka Greg” said that in 2018 he lived in the mountains of Abra for six months, and from then, he saw the truth behind the CPP/NPA's goals.
"Isa sa mga kasamahan ko ang pinatay dahil nakiusap siya sa mga head ng grupo namin na kung pwede raw sana ay payagan na siyang tumiwalag,” he revealed. He also added that he didn't tell his comrades about this by the time he decided to quit because he was afraid that he might end up being killed.
Mark Leo Javier, a education student who participated in the event, stated his opinion regarding the importance of the PEP in keeping away students from being part of any terrorism group.
“Napakatimely po na magkaroon ng ganitong klaseng usapin kasi dahil sa nangyayari ngayon sa Afghanistan. At saka po, naririnig ko rin po sa balita na may mga narerecruit na kabataan para pasukin ang mundo ng terorismo. Parang di nila naiisip kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari sa kanila kapag sumali sila dito.”
Anna Marie Antonio, Isiah Godffrey Manio, & Sidjay Paulino, The University Scribe