Senator Bato dela Rosa has floated the idea of compelling state-run universities to fully cooperate with security forces in ensuring that groups that indoctrinate students into the communist ideology will not be allowed in their campuses.

“They should, gobyerno naman gumagastos sa kanila (the government funds them). Government-owned schools ang mga ito (these are government schools) and yet they are producing people who are fighting against the government, napakalaking irony ito (this is a huge irony),” Dela Rosa said in a media interview after a Senate hearing where mothers of missing students who allegedly joined progressive groups Anakbayan and Kabataan narrated their stories.

The legislator wants the administrations of the University of the Philippines and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to allow the military and the police to enter their campuses to hold educational forums.

“They don’t want the police to enter their compound; whereby, allowing communists to recruit students inside their campus.”

“Ayaw nila papasukin ang police sa kanilang compound; whereby, allowing the communist to recruit students sa loob ng kanilang campus. Pinagbawalan ang government instrumentalities na makapagbigay ng education sa mga bata (They don’t want the police to enter their compound; whereby, allowing communists to recruit students inside their campus. They prohibited government instrumentalities to give education to the students),” the lawmaker said.

The senator spoke of an internal agreement between the police and school administration to locate missing students.

During the hearing, several parents who testified before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said their children, who were enrolled in PUP, Far Eastern University (FEU) and University of the East, left their homes and did not contact them after joining progressive youth organizations.

The parents said their children joined the League of Filipino Students, Anakbayan, and the Kabataan party-list.

Among the minors, only the child of Gemma Labsan stayed with the family, while the rest refused to return home.

On August 1, the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has filed kidnapping and other charges against the recruiters — Anakbayan national chairman Vencer Crisostomo, and Anakbayan secretary-general Einstein Recedes — in connection with a “missing” 17-year-old FEU senior high school student.

Dela Rosa said the parents attended the Senate hearing on their own and were unfazed by threats that they will be labeled as “enemies” of the communist group if they speak up.

“Hindi na sila natatakot kasi itong mga parents na to, parang pinatay na rin sila kasi hindi na nila nakikita, nakakausap ang mga anak nila (These parents do not fear for their lives anymore, it’s as if they’re already dead because they no longer see or hear from their children),” he said.

While police forces are already allowed to patrol regularly in the campus, PUP president Emanuel de Guzman said the PUP Board of Regents shall convene to authorize this proposal first to avoid “agitating the students.”

Dela Rosa, however, said there should be “more regular” police patrols regardless of the reaction of the students.

“If we are always afraid to agitate them, nothing will happen with this government.”

“I don’t care kasi kung palagi na lang tayo takot na ma-agitate wala na mangyari sa gobyerno na ito (if we are always afraid to agitate them, nothing will happen with this government). We will wake up one day realizing that a big chunk of our population has already been lured into this deceit. The government should have the political will to do what is supposed to be done to ensure na ang mga bata na ito ay makakapag-aral at makakapagtapos (that the students continue and finish their studies),” he added.

Data from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) showed that there was a total of 513 “neutralized child victims of CPP- NPA recruitment” from 1999 to 2019.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

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