Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga -- Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 3 Director, POLICE BRIGADIER GENERAL RHODEL O SERMONIA assailed the communist New People's Army (NPA) for their continuous and shameless recruitment of members from the youth and student sectors following the capture of a former female college student who was among the wounded in an encounter with government security forces in Rizal town, Nueva Ecija province last Thursday.
Sermonia identified the former coed-turned-rebel as Redsa Balatan, alias Ka Sining, 33, political instructor of Kilusang Larangang Guerilla Sierra Madre. She was a former student at the University of the Philippines-Extension Program in Pampanga.
Sermonia said that Balatan, along with other NPA members were engaging in extortion activities in Barangay Estrella in Rizal town when they were chanced upon by joint forces of Philippine Army and PNP before the firefight ensued.
Sermonia expressed sadness for the plight of Balatan who was deceived by the communist into joining what she thought was the solution to issues that beset the country only to be captured and wounded while engaging in shameful extortion.
Sermonia said the case of Balatan should serve as a lesson to Filipino youths, especially students studying in state-owned universities and colleges, that abandoning their studies in exchange for following the deceptive path of armed struggle will not only waste their chances for a bright future but will also destroy the lives of their families and loved ones.
Sermonia said that in more than 50 years of communist insurgency, those young people -- like Balatan -- who fell into the romanticism of NPA's protracted war were among those who actually betrayed the Filipino people for allowing themselves to become instrument of violence that only deprive the masses of the chances to achieve genuine economic development.
Sermonia also appealed to state colleges and universities administrators to become vigilant with the covert recruitment of students that happen under their noses by the NPA's front organizations in the student sector like the League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students of Philippines, ANAKBAYAN, Karapatan, and Kabataan Party-List, which sway students to abandon their education and to join the NPA.
Sermonia said that under Executive Order Number 70 that created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), government instrumentalities in the education sector, namely the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) have shared responsibilities in insulating the youth from the radicalization of communist agitators that target students in their recruitments.
Reports said that Balatan was wounded and captured last Thursday along with Lizel Labo alias Ka Nido, Carlos Aguilar alias Ka Badong, Danilo Sagun and Ernesto Quimzon.
Two NPA members were also killed in the encounter and they were identified as Michael Ladesma and a certain Ka Miguel.
Authorities have recovered from the encounter two M16 Colt Baby Armalite rifles; three cal.45 pistols; 15 long magazines of m16 rifle loaded with ammunition; a hand grenade; other gadgets and alleged subversive documents.
At present the PNP in Region has accounted 71 former rebels who returned to the fold of the law and availed of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) for rebel returnees.