/ 2 February 2021

YOUTH GROUPS in Mindanao urged the government to recalibrate its strategies to resolve “the root causes of armed rebellion” instead of sowing fear against dissent.

The Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Pamantasan ng Ateneo de Davao condemned the inclusion of more universities and colleges across the country in the list of alleged “recruitment havens” of communist insurgency.

The student body denounced such “irresponsible listing” and demanded an apology from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

“This listing is dangerous because it encourages red-tagging, especially in a polarized society that confuses activism and dissent with rebellion and terrorism, which will put in peril the lives of university members especially our fellow students who bravely speak against state atrocities and inefficiencies,” SAMAHAN said.

It challenged the government to listen and give appropriate response when students speak out their minds on “ills and injustices of society.”

The NTF-ELCAC named 38 schools and universities as “havens” of communists including top Mindanao educational institutions — Ateneo de Davao University, Xavier University, University of Southeastern Philippines, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, MSU General Santos, and Bukidnon State University — as venues by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People’s Army to radicalize and recruit prospects.

National Union of Students of the Philippines Vice President for Mindanao Christian Sembrino criticized the “ceaseless” red-tagging as “desperate move to silence dissent.”

NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy recently defended Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. for claiming that communists conduct recruitment activities in universities and colleges.

The Students’ Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology feared that the school’s inclusion endangers the welfare of its students.

“Despite the constant denial of the administration, history will show the very real dangers that red-tagging poses,” the group said.