By Chito Chavez
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año warned the youth “to think twice and be more discerning” before joining camps organized by alliances of student councils in line with the observance of the National Students’ Day.
He noted that such events are not organized and spearheaded by the National Youth Commission (NYC).
Año added the 1st National Students’ Youth Camp which will be held on November 16-17, as well as the series of events from November 11-21 in several campuses of the University of the Philippines, are not being endorsed by the NYC which is the agency mandated under the law to lead the annual activities for the National Students’ Day.
“We just want to make it clear that the 1st National Students’ Youth Camp, as well as the other activities organized by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and other allied groups, are not government-endorsed. These are separate activities that are not sanctioned by the government and the NYC,” he said.
Under Republic Act 11369 or the National Students’ Day Act, it is the NYC that is tasked to lead the annual program of activities for the National Students Day with the support of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
The NYC is an agency under the DILG.
Año issued the statement after receiving queries from the public, particularly parents, if the government is aware of and encouraging the attendance of the youth to the said youth camp and other NUSP-led activities which are being circulated on social media.
He disclosed having received reports that the youth camp along with the other activities are being used by Communist-led front organizations as a venue to agitate, deceive and recruit the youth into joining the communist movement.
“While the intent of RA 11369 is to inculcate love of country and social responsibility among the youth, leftist groups are taking advantage and riding on the observance of the National Students’ Day to do the opposite and that is to fuel distrust in the government and duly constituted authorities and advance their communist agenda,” he noted.
The DILG Secretary strongly urged the youth to be more discerning and not to fall into the trap of the enemies of the state whose ultimate motive is to overthrow the government.
Año explained while the government recognizes the right of the camp organizers to conduct such activities, they too should be wary of becoming instruments of communist front organizations for recruitment.
Among the organizers of the 1st National Students Youth Camp are the UP Office of the Student Regent, NUSP, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, and Kabataan Partylist.