Sunday, June 14, 2020

Anti-terror bill to spare youth from armed groups' recruitment

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 14, 2020): Anti-terror bill to spare youth from armed groups' recruitment (By Lade Jean Kabagani)

The proposed anti-terrorism bill will serve as a strong backbone against violent extremism and recruitment of youth into the armed movement, the League of Parents in the Philippines (LPP) said Sunday.

In a statement, LPP chairperson Remy Rosadio said the measure will protect minors against active organizations "who are instilling hatred and brainwashing them to fight the government at all cost."

She said children will also be protected against all forms of exploitation.

"We, parents, fully believe that the bill when passed into law will put a strong legal backbone against terrorism -- which are locally carried out by the Abu Sayyaf and the CPP-NPA-NDF -- thus, protecting our children from their treacherous and harmful schemes," Rosadio said.

The terrorists, she said, are constantly recruiting child combatants for the armed struggle through their allied groups.

"These terrorists have been nothing but a constant and aggravating threat to our children’s rights, which include: the right to health, education, family life, play and recreation, an adequate standard of living and to be protected from abuse and harm," she added.

She said enacting the bill into law will provide a tougher response against the threat of terrorism and will end the long-standing violence by the communist terrorist groups.

"We have heard and lamented over stories of minors being brainwashed by these terrorists and brought them to the mountains to train them to fight, then left beaten and alone, if not dead, after an unfortunate engagement with the military. Thank God for children who have already been rescued by our valiant men in uniform. But what about the others?" Rosadio said. "We need to protect our children because they are the future of this country, and to teach them that terrorizing people can never be a solution to anything."

'Display of ignorance'

Rosadio said the parents of supposed recruited minors, who joined militant organizations, were disheartened by what she called "massive disinformation" created by the groups against the measure.

"We are very displeased with those creating massive disinformation against the anti-terrorism bill, especially because they have not fully read or understood the provisions thereof. Most of what they howl and yammer in the streets or on social media are but a display of their ignorance. Or, as we are inclined to believe more, they may just be fearful," she said.

Rosadio emphasized the passage of the bill could put a halt to children being brought into the mountains and will curb human trafficking, exploiting children as well as teaching them with armed mobilizations.

The parents of those who were reportedly recruited by various militant groups only seek a normal life for their children, Rosadio said.

She urged her fellow parents to remain vigilant and informed with the "propaganda of the fearful and the guilty militant organizations."

"If we will all just take time to read this anti-terrorism bill, then we will understand that it has provisions that will make sure no human rights will be violated, in fact, it’s all about preserving and safeguarding the human life," she said.

"Furthermore, it is not against activism, as some allegedly accuse, because we the League of Parents are also activists and we have been going out in the streets protesting for the sake of our children and our country. And this we will do so until our very last breath," she added.

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