The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion (53IB) and Southern Mindanao Colleges (SMC) launched a Student Leadership Forum and Awareness campaign against Communist Party of the Philippine-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) recruitment in a simple program at SMC Sky Room, Pagadian City on March 05, 2021.
In the said program, 53IB and SMC held the said forum for the prevention and awareness against CPP-NPA recruitment with 10 faculty, non-teaching, administrators, and at least 109 students.
SMC currently employs more than 150 personnel with more than 2,500 students in its elementary, high school, college, and masteral departments.
“The purpose of the forum is for the students to be aware that school is one of NPA recruitment centers gravity. It is important that the youth should be educated and guarded against the danger of joining the communist armed insurgency,” 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said.
“The youths are the future leaders of our country. They are our hope in building our nation in government and private sectors, the academe, in politics, and the military. We are not only fighting against the communist groups but also empowering and inspiring the people to do the right thing for better communities,” Lt. Col. Herrera added.
Lt. Col. Herrera told the students: “There is no problem of being activists and broadening your knowledge with different philosophies as long as you do not carry firearms and destroy lives and government and private properties. The battlefield has shifted to the battle of ideas and narratives in Social Media.”
With the initiatives of the 53IB’s combat and non-combat operations in collaboration with LGUs and NGOs, the Provincial Council recently declared the Province of Zamboanga del Sur insurgency free and peaceful ready for development with the dismantling of HQ KALAW Platoon and Main Regional Guerilla Unit (MRGU) of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).Lt. Col. Herrera said the Philippine Army is continuously conducting more initiatives to sustain the gains and maintain peaceful communities from the urban center to the far-flung hinterlands in the province.
During the forum, Lt. Col. Herrera presented and provided copies of the Breaking Free (from Communist Deception) book and Crossing the Red Line Book, narrations of actual accounts of young people’s fateful journeys who were recruited and once deceived by the CPP-NPA but were able to surrender and went back to the folds of the law, for the SMC Library.
“We are very thankful for the Philippine Army in its relentless efforts to maintain peace and order to guard our youth against communist ideologies. We shall continue in strengthening our partnership with the 53IB in guiding our students to become responsible, productive, and law-abiding citizens,” SMC President Dr. Roselito Hofileña said.
The program was spearheaded by SMC officials including Dr. Hofileña, College of Education Dean Dr. Ben Hope Ruelo, SMC ROTC Band led by Sherwin Diaz, and College of Liberal and Social Work Dean Dr. Gloria Arcamo.
Source: 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion https://www.facebook.com/53rdmatapat/posts/4089862374392533