Volunteers nurtured to counter terrorist recruitment in Zambo schools

A massive information campaign is one of the priorities of the government in countering the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The iVolunteers composed of students and youth leaders in big universities in Zamboanga City, who were established last year, convened in a joint meeting and campaign planning with the technical working group on Monday (February 1).

Noemi Edaga, regional director of Philippine Information Agency IX emphasized the role and importance of the iVolunteers especially in this time of pandemic in disseminating the right information to the public.

“The main purpose of iVolunteers is to counter terrorist groups in schools. We are nurturing you to become future leaders, hoping that youths can serve the country well,” she said.

Even during the pandemic, the iVolunteers continue to support the campaign of the government and conducted activities such as capacity building and webinars for the students.

This year, the schools–Universidad de Zamboanga, Western Mindanao State University, Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College, Pilar College, Southern City Colleges and Zamboanga State College of Marine Science and Technology will continue with advocacy activities to counter misinformation, disinformation including fake news, as well as promote a culture of peace in their communities.

National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA IX) Regional Director Ariel Perlado emphasized that students and youth leaders are enjoined to become part of the information campaign to prevent the youth from becoming victims of wrong ideology propaganda and recruitment by illicit organizations.

“I strongly believe that the reason for insurgency is poverty, social injustice and illiteracy. That’s where iVolunteeers can come in; we need their help to disseminate the programs and services of government to tell the people that government is here to help them,” he explained.

Ka Amihan, a former rebel shared her own experience being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) during the activity.

She stressed that schools and student leaders can make use of iVolunteers to conduct a massive information campaign against the CPP-NPA recruitment to prevent any more youth from becoming victims in the future.

“The youth are being recruited because majority of them do not have the right information. Let us all be part of the campaign to keep off these terrorist groups from our schools,” said Ka Amihan. (EDT/MLE/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

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