Maritime students learn communism’s pitfalls

MANILA For some students training to be seafarers, communism is an issue they rarely discuss thinking it will not affect them once they graduate and work overseas.

But after a forum on Thursday organized by the Philippine Air Force's Civil-Military Operations, the students weighed in on the matter.

First-year marine engineering student Shushan Odango said he thought that communists join the movement fully aware of the cause and its end-goal.

Hindi pala sila voluntary sumali. Yung karamihan sa kanila ay nirecruit tapos ginipit din. They [recruiters from communist-front groups] are manipulating the minds of Filipino students, mahirap pala ang karanasan nila [na-recruit na member] (I found out that they did not get in on their own accounts. Most of them were recruited and then blackmailed/deceived. Recruiters are manipulating the minds of Filipino students, I realized their situation is difficult), Odango said.

Odango was one of the many students of the Asian Institute of Marine Studies (AIMS) who attended the forum on Campus Peace and Development and heard 53-year old former rebel, "Lola", share her 10-year experience being a political officer of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Lola told the forum participants that communist recruiters are usually deceptive, using their physical attributes to lure young people into the movement.

The recruiters are among you, they do not show to you as armed rebels as they come from the mountains, they pose as friendly strangers, presentable, and some of them are good looking (it helps with the recruitment). Then, they try to know your personal issues, bank on your anger and gradually grow them to bigger issues, societal issues, the former rebel said.

Wag nyong biguin ang magulang ninyo, Ang mahal ng tuition. May pamangkin ako, nagchichip in kami para mapag-aral sya (Do not disappoint your parents. It is expensive to send a child to college. I have a nephew who is now a Captain, my siblings and I chipped in so he can finish school), Lola added.

Xyruss Macatangay, a 20-year-old marine transportation student, said he is also more dedicated to doing good in school after knowing the ill-effects brought to other students who were persuaded to join the communist movement.

Mahal po ang tuition tapos nakakaawa naman po nagpa-aral sa amin pag di kami magtapos (Our tuition is expensive and I do not want to waste the time and money of the people who sent us to school to go to waste if we chose not to continue studying), he said in an interview.

Lola also encouraged the students to love their country wherever their job may take them.

"Eventually, you will leave your country. But don't forget to love it because, at the end of it all, this is your home you will always come back here," she added.

AIMS Center for Student Services and Development director Lamberto Mindanao who requested for the forum said he wants to instill discipline on the students.

This stuff is not taught in school so inviting these experts into our school is an avenue for students to learn and be aware of the government's cause as well as other social concerns, he added.

Lt. Col. Sir Byron de Ocampo of the Civil-Military Operations, who lead the organizing team, said it is their fourth time to conduct an information drive regarding peace and development. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency