For Celine Pialago, Kabataan Party-List Rep. Sarah Jane Elago is an alleged example of a “brainwashed” person who can no longer be changed by the government, no matter what it does.
“Actually ma’am, hindi na natin problema sina Ma’am Sarah eh, hindi na natin sila mababago. Sila na ho yung isang example ng talagang na-brainwash (Actually ma’am, the likes of Ma’am Sarah aren’t our problem anymore. They are examples of those who have really been brainwashed),” Pialago said Monday afternoon, July 5 during the discussions in the “Kabataan Party-List Decoded: A virtual forum on genuine youth representation.”
“Yan na yun ma’am, kahit anong gawin ng gobyerno. Ang pinaglalaban na lang po ng gobyerno ngayon, yung mga youth leaders, ay hindi na ho sila mandamay pa. Pero sila ho per se, bahala ho sila kasi buhay naman po nila ‘yan (They will never change no matter what government does. What government is fighting for right now, the youth leaders, is to make sure they don’t involve anybody else with them. But them, per se, they can do whatever they want with their lives),” she said.
Pialago, 30, serves as National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson on public affairs and youth concerns, as well as spokesperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) where she is an assistant secretary.
It was the second time in two months that Pialago chided the left-leaning youth congresswoman. The underlying theme of Pialago’s criticism on Elago has to do with the allegations that Kabataan Party-List has been luring young Filipinos to join the communist armed conflict against the government.
In fact, the NTF-ELCAC’s Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) filed last month a petition to cancel the registration of the party-list before the Commission on Elections (Comelec). Pialago hailed the move and called it a “victory” even at this juncture.
She went on to give some pieces of advice to the Filipino youth.
“Kahit kailan po hindi po naging masamang ipaglaban yung paniniwala. Pero kung ikaw ay isinasama para mag-alsa, maging rebelde, mamundok, humawak ng armas, at maging marahas ay hindi po yan tama (It’s never wrong to fight for your beliefs. But if you’re being recruited to revolt, to rebel, to go to the mountains, to take up arms and be violent, then that’s not right).
“Kaya nga ho panawagan namin sa mga kabataan, huwag niyo pong iwan ang inyong ama’t I am habang sila’y buhay pa. Huwag niyo hong piliin ang bundok. Napakasarap mamuhay nang malaya (Thus, our appeal to the youth is, never leave your parents’ side while they’re still alive. Don’t choose to go to the mountains. It’s so wonderful to live free),” the MMDA official said.
“Pero ang goal ng mga kabilang grupo sa pagre-recruit, pagbagsakin ang gobyerno. Hindi ho ninyo mapapabagsak ang gobyerno, kaya nga ho gobyerno yan eh. So yung mga kabataan kailangan po silang magising, no? Kung pababagsakin mo ang gobyerno nagsasayang ka ng lakas, oras, at worse, buhay mo ang mawawala (The goal of the other groups is to recruit for the purpose of taking the government down. You won’t be able to take it down, that’s why it’s called the government. So the youth need to wake up. If you’re out to topple the government then you’re wasting your strength, time, and worse, you’ll end up losing your life),” Pialago said.