The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion (53IB) officially partnered with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of the Municipality of Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur to stop the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) recruitment and radicalization during the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) held on February 10, 2021.
During the meeting, 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col Jo-ar Herrera presented security updates of the unit’s Area of Operations in the Municipality of Dumalinao.
Lt. Col Herrera emphasized the essence of prevention to counter CPP-NPA propaganda and looking after the youths as vulnerable sector in our society.
“We have the duty to make our youths aware of the risks of radicalization from all extremists. It is very alarming with increasing concern about the NPA recruitment of our children. We have to do something about it and make sure to keep our children safe,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.
“We are grateful for the Philippine Army for proactively maintaining peace and stability in our area. We understand that prevention is better than cure and 53IB is very keen on countering the enemy from recruiting vulnerable youths. Thank you for looking after the young people of our next generation, not just in Dumalinao but in the whole province of Zamboanga del Sur,” Hon. Junaflor Cerilles said.
With the unit’s intensive efforts to reach the youth regarding NPA recruitment, the 53IB published a book entitled “BREAKING FREE” (from Communist deception) as part of its strategy to equip the youth about the CPP-NPA terrorist organization to prevent radicalization.
Written by Leah Agonoy and Lt. Col. Herrera, the book highlights eye-opening narratives of actual accounts of young people’s fateful journeys who were once deceived but were able to break free from the shadows of communist deceptions in the Zamboanga Peninsula.