/ 3 February 2021

THE NATIONAL Intelligence Coordinating Agency in Soccsksargen said that it will counter the recruitment activities of the New People’s Army in higher education institutions in the region.

The agency said that it validated recruitment activities of the NPA in the Mindanao State University campus.

MSU was earlier tagged by government forces as one of the havens of the NPA.

NICA Director Eduardo Marquez said the information was validated by former NPA rebels who either surrendered or were captured.

Among Marquez’s sources was Noel Legaspi, also known as ‘Ka Efren’, a former spokesman and deputy secretary of the NPA-Far South Mindanao Revolutionary Committee.

Legaspi said he was a senior Political Science student when he was recruited. He surrendered to authorities in January 2018 along with his wife.

However, Marquez does not believe that MSU is a ‘hotbed’ of recruitment.

He thinks the NPA “took advantage of the situation” in the campuses and targeted the students.

For the last two years, NICA-12 has been conducting awareness campaigns to combat the recruitment among the youth and students in the region.

The agency plans to expand its information and educational campaigns and urge the youth to become peace advocates.

On January 28, the MSU-General Santos campus denounced being included in the list of “breeding grounds for violent extremism and radicalism.”

“MSU was born and crafted for peace. It is not a breeding ground and will never be an instrument of communist rebels. We raise citizens committed to peace-building and peacekeeping in Mindanao. Violent extremism and radicalism do not dwell in Mindanao State University- General Santos” MSU Chancellor Anshari Ali said.