By KARLOS MANUEL
Spokesperson, Efren Martires Command
NPA Eastern Visayas Region
The Efren Martires Command of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas today praised the vigor of the youth and urged them to maximize their potential through revolutionary fighting spirit in the armed struggle. “In celebration of the 39th anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the NPA as an allied organization of the NDFP urges the youth to serve the people and the revolution,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, spokesperson of the Efren Martires Command, NPA-Eastern Visayas Region.
“Our youth have the intelligence, creativity, receptiveness to progressive ideas, enthusiasm and determination to transform the present society. But under the US-Aquino regime, they are pushed to worsening exploitation and oppression. Only by embracing the armed struggle and overthrowing the reactionary ruling system can the youth attain their dreams and aspirations.”
Ka Manuel said the youth in the region bear the burden of the semifeudal and semicolonial system. “The plight of the youth reflects the problems of their elders and the whole society. At an early age, many youth are forced to end schooling and participate in economic production to live. Thus, even though they shouldn’t be working yet, the youthful peasants and workers understand early the problems of landlessness, low wages and other forms of exloitation and abuse.
“For example, according to the Regional Anti-Child Labor Committee of the reactionary government itself, the youth and child laborers in Leyte sugar plantations officially earn P65 every day. This is way below the P213.50-P255 minimum wage. Moreover, many youth are forced to leave home and work as domestic helpers, construction workers, factory workers and other heavy and dangerous exploitation of their youth. Such children are also vulnerable to human trafficking and sexual abuse.
“Those who go through schooling also have perennial grievances over tuition fee increases, campus repression, the continuing slide in the quality of education and other issues. According to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, for every 100 students who start Grade One, only 14 graduate from college. And in fact, in the past three years, up to 83% of those in college do not graduate, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board. Now even more will not reach college because of the Department of Education’s drive for the K-12 curriculum, which discourages higher education by extending the years in schooling until high school.
“This is meant to cut government support for college education, while those who can no longer pursue higher education are forced into cheap labor to entice foreign businesses.”
Ka Manuel added that the youth are robbed of hope and only suffer under the US-Aquino regime. “The US imperialist and its puppet Aquino regime seek to profit from squeezing the youth dry of their strength and talent. Any questioning and resistance against the ruling system are met with fascist violence by the military and police.
“Many youth face vicious military operations under Oplan Bayanihan (Aquino government anti-insurgency program) and endure human rights violations such as harassment as suspected NPA members, or the illegal military occupation of their communities and schools. Even day care centers are not spared by the military occupation, such as the cases of the 34th Infantry Battalion (Philippine Army) in Barangay San Miguel, Las Navas and Barangay G.M. Osias in Gamay, both in Northern Samar, and of the 19th IBPA in Barangay Liberty, Ormoc City, Leyte.
“Soldiers of the 8th Infantry Division also conduct operations in high schools and colleges to demonize the NPA, harangue the students against democratic struggle, and deceive them through fascist psywar. As such, the youth are greatly encouraged to explore and embrace the revolutionary armed struggle.”
The EMC spokesperson urged the various NPA units to ensure the lively participation of the youth in mass education, revolutionary cultural activities and mass struggles, and to step up recruitment from the ranks of youth who satisfy the minimum recruitment age of 18.
“The youth are the wellspring of the revolution. We will always have a never-ending stream of young peasants, workers and educated urban youth within and outside the region. The Red commanders and fighters of the NPA must be patient and persevering in training and guiding the youthful recruits in the process of remolding towards being dedicated revolutionaries. They are the ones to whom the torch of revolution will be passed, and it is the responsibility of their revolutionary elders to prepare them for the future.
“Bonifacio’s revolution before was a revolution of the youth. Today the times challenge the youth to patriotically stand up for the people and for the country, and against US imperialism and the present puppet regime. In the people’s collective action and the waging of armed struggle, future generations have their hope.”