By Alexander Lopez (PNA)
BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte — Concerned over reports that influence of the New People’s Army (NPA) has already reached school campuses, Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Ma. Angelica M. Amante-Matba urged the teachers in the province to help the government save the youth from the recruitment of the NPA.
Amante-Matba, who personally visited the remote areas of Barangay Durian in Las Nieves town and Sangay in the municipality of Buenavista on Saturday, emphasized the roles of teachers in protecting students from the influence of the NPA.
She was joined by 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) commander, Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina, Jr., Las Nieves town mayor Avelina S. Rosales, and Romeo O. Approvechar, the school division superintendent in the area.
Late last week, the 23IB reported that 10 percent of students in each school where they conducted information drives expressed positive views on the NPA.
The finding of the Army was based on surveys they conducted prior to the conduct of information drives where students were asked to write in paper their views and impressions about the NPA.
Molina described to the Philippine News Agency their finding as “chilling”, adding that most of the students who idolize the NPA are those in Grade 8.
The surveys and the series of information drives were conducted this month of February in the municipalities of Buenavista, Nasipit, Carmen, and Las Nieves.
“It’s not about us but for the future of our children, the youth. If we will not act now, the NPA will get hold of children, turn them into warriors to fight the government, and eventually die in the battlefields,” Amante-Matba said.
She also asked the heads of the schools in the area to review the provisions of Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte that outlines the responsibilities of the agencies of the government, including the Department of Education (DepEd), in the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict.
Teachers, Amante-Matba said, must be informed by the roles of the DepEd in the unified efforts to end local communist conflicts in their respective schools and communities.
“Convergence of efforts is necessary to effectively defend school children and the youth from the influence of the NPA,” Amante-Matba added.