No more youth downfall due to ‘false ideologies’: NTF ELCAC

Just proper and long overdue.

Thus, said the Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) of the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) on Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s abrogation of the accord with the University of the Philippines (UP) that prohibits military and police personnel from conducting security operations in any of UP campuses without prior notice to the University President, the Chancellor of the constituent university, or the Dean of the regional unit concerned.

“We cannot wait, we will not wait, we should ACT NOW. We cannot afford to wait for the increase in the number of youth victims; we will not wait for their downfall due to false ideologies,” the NTF ELCAC cluster said in a statement on Jan. 20.

The DND, it said, acted well within the ambit of its rights in unilaterally terminating the agreement signed on June 30, 1989, because it has long been settled that the police power cannot be surrendered or bargained away through the medium of a contract.

“In fact, every contract affecting the public interest suffers a congenital infirmity in that it contains an implied reservation of the police power as a postulate of the existing legal order. This power can be activated at any time to change the provisions of the contract, or even abrogate it entirely, for the promotion or protection of the general welfare,” it added. “Such an act will not militate against the impairment clause, which is subject to and limited by the paramount police power.”

Protection of the youth

It said the protection of the youth and to minimize, if not end, the massive recruitment of UP students to membership in a terrorist organization is the primary goal of the termination anchored on national security considerations and public welfare.

The termination effective Jan. 15, it added, is an affirmation of DND’s sworn in duty to shield the youth of our motherland from terrorist manipulations, deceptions, and radicalizations and to save their precious lives from the dangers of death.

“The Filipino people bear witness to the senseless death of these UP students who were radicalized to join the CPP’s (Communist Party of the Philippines) armed wing, i.e. the NPA (New People’s Army) to fight the duly constituted government of the Republic of the Philippines,” the statement read, enumerating some of UP students who became victims of communist ideology inculcated through student organizations inside UP campuses, and ended up dead.

They are Recca Noelle Monte, Engineering student of UP Diliman; Christine Puche, Journalism student of UP Diliman; Tanya Domingo, Fine Arts student of UP Diliman; Purification Pedro Social Worker student of UP Diliman; Ma Lorena Barros, AB Anthropology; John Castro Capistrano Alberto, Rechelle Mae Palang, and Malvin Christian Cruz, students of UP Miag-ao in Iloilo.

“These youths, considered to be the FUTURE of our country, have gone astray, were lost, and sadly never came back to their family,” the statement said, adding that it is for this reason that the DND stands firm in its mission to serve and protect the Filipino people.

The NTF ELCAC cluster lamented that the agreement has been constraining the State’s objective to protect the interest of the youth from the clandestine recruitment for membership into the CPP-NPA – an organization listed as a terrorist organization by the United States of America, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Anti-Terrorism Council of the Philippines.

State agents, it added, are rendered kaput from enforcing the law against CPP-NPA’s front organizations, masquerading as legitimate student organizations inside UP campuses as the agreement was used by communist recruiters and supporters as a shield.

It said the DND is firm with its commitment to protecting the constitutionally mandated rights of the Filipinos hence, the abrogation will not trample with the rights to freedom of expression. “It is not designed to sow fear, discourage dissent, or silence criticism. The protection of the freedom of expression remains paramount and the DND will always fight for the Filipinos’ right to express themselves,” the statement said.

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