Youth organization blasts military official for red-tagging of leftist groups

August 26, 2019 - 6:46 PM
Benedict Arevalo at University of St. La Salle
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod (Brown Eagle/Released)

A student organization denounced a military official’s claim that leftist groups are recruiting students to become communist rebels.

Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo of the Armed Forces of the Philippines spoke at a symposium in the University of St. La Salle last August 24 and presented a list of logos of leftist groups tagged as communists.

Among those shown in the Arevalo’s presentation were the logos of Kabataan Party-list, Anakbayan and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines or CEGP.

The event was a two-part seminar organized by the university’s National Service Training Program or NSTP.

The CEGP called out Arevalo for his claim, branding his action as a desperate move to destroy the reputation of these organizations.

“Although this was not the first time that such incidents like this happened, this is just one of the many manifestations how stupid and pathetic our state has become, vilifying these genuine organizations,” the group said on Facebook.

RESIST CRACKDOWN!STOP THE ATTACKS!END STATE FASCISM!The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, as the broadest…

Posted by College Editors Guild of the Philippines on Saturday, August 24, 2019

CEGP National President Daryl Baybado further criticized the general’s speech as a “propagation of lies” that sought to influence students.

“With Duterte’s continuous propagation of lies, this clearly shows that his minions are good for nothing. These blatant attacks against progressive groups are outright violations of our democratic rights because these groups have been genuinely fighting for the interest of the toiling masses,” Baybado said in the post.

One of the attendees of Arevalo’s talk shared screenshots of his presentation showing basic information on the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing the New People’s Army or NPA, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines or NDF.

One of the photos showed logos of the progressive groups which the general alleged to be members of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The Spectrum, the university’s student publication, said the symposium was about Security Situationer and Drug Education to raise awareness to the students on the issues of national peace and security and the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

The National Service Training Program (NSTP) Office organized a two-part symposium on the Security Situationer and Drug…

Posted by The Spectrum – USLS on Saturday, August 24, 2019

Arevalo was invited as resource person for the Security Situationer forum.

The NSTP office did not expect him to show a list of red-tagged bodies in discussing the CPP-NPA-NDF.

“I think that’s part of their campaign to let the students be aware that if they’re not conscious enough of various organizations, there’s a possibility that they will be joining these organizations,” said Dexter Ian Tabujara, Head NSTP Cluster Coordinator.

Issues on red-tagging

Brown Eagle, the Facebook page of 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental, shared that Arevalo’s discussion was titled “Deceptive Youth Recruitment Strategy of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” which included a three-minute animated film on the NPA’s supposed recruitment of the youth through encroaching educational institutions.

Arevalo also claimed that many young NPA members already got killed during encounters with the military.

“The government respects the academic freedom and allows the people to express what they want and critic the flaws they see in the society. However, when a person starts to take up arms or support terrorist organizations like the CPP-NPA, that is already against the law and the government will act upon it,” he said.

He also shared a confusing statement on the practice of academic freedom and militarization.

“There is a tendency of some universities to think that it is only through hearing leftist ideas that they are able to practice academic freedom but when the military is seen and heard in the campuses, they call it militarization. This is another lie and deception,” he added.

It should be noted that most of the red-tagged names in Arevalo’s list are unarmed and are calling for the military to cease their assertions of the youth’s involvement with the communist rebels.

This development came after two of the five missing students purported to have been forcefully recruited by the NPA surfaced to the media.