A revelation

A very close friend finally gave the green light to share her story. Not a dark secret though, but a story told only to a selected few about misplaced struggle, misguided mindset and foiled damage.

As dorm roommates, she was a bosom buddy. We had each other’s backs and shared almost everything during our sophomore and junior years in a not-so-far-away university in Quezon City.

In mid-1985, meeting times became rare because she was preoccupied, aside from “acads,” with “extracurricular activities,” just as many students were, to satisfy a sense of belongingness in a close to a 500-hectare university campus with more than 20,000 students.

She later became an “overnight permit” regular — once a week at first. I did take notice that she already developed the habit of spending all weekends someplace else… at a relative’s house was her excuse.
One weekend, she stayed at the dorm in an unusually pensive mood. We managed to exchange stories and catch up.

Her revelation came as no surprise. I was not naïve to comprehend that she was among the student activists who always converge at Welcome Rotonda and march to Mendiola at the height of anti-Marcos protests following the assassination of former senator Ninoy Aquino in 1983.

That, she admitted, was her supposed baptism of fire into the world of student activism, reinforced by a Sociology professor who required the class to participate in at least three mass actions, a Math 17 (Algebra and Trigonometry) teacher who used the Philippines’ debt with World Bank-International Monetary Fund as computation examples, and organization mates who hold regular discussions on political and socio-economic issues.

An insatiable desire for the ouster of then-president Ferdinand Marcos Sr., blamed for the death of Ninoy Aquino, led to another. She then became a vulnerable recruit into the Kabataan Makabayan or KM — a communist youth organization that went underground (UG) after it was banned by the former in 1972.

She never missed KM small group meetings inside the campus with time code +2 or -2 to mislead “government agents,” joined exposure trips to depressed communities like Dagat-dagatan in Navotas, and attended mini-lectures on “Saligang Kursong Pangmasa” and “Demokratikong Rebolusyon ng Bayan.”

It is no longer significant how long her involvement with the UG group was. What was far-reaching is she still values strong and positive family relationships, thus, her disengagement from a communist terrorist front group that erodes recruits’ moral fiber.

In retrospect, it makes me wonder how unfounded it is to deny that there is communist recruitment in schools.

A UP-Mindanao alumnus himself confirmed that recruitment activities are being carried out by the New People’s Army (NPA), sometimes even with the help of their mentor.

“There is, and it starts with the words critical thinking,” Choyax Cagape said in a Facebook post earlier this year. Most of the netizens who commented on his post cited their own experiences in the same school.

The list of recruited students who later became regular communist members is long. Some, unfortunately, didn’t see the light of another day, fighting for a lost cause, while others returned to the government fold. Here are some of the prominent ones:

• Joy Saguino, UP Visayas student who was a spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students and then recruited into KM., before she became secretary of GS-20 Sub Regional Committee 1 of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee;

• Daniel Moses Dellosa, alias Ka Axel, joined the CPP-NPA when he was 18 and a third-year BS Applied Physics student at the UP Diliman, who is a former secretary of the Guerilla Front 2 Sub-Regional Committee of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command;

• Arian Jane Ramos, a UP-Min Bachelor of Arts in Communication graduate, is a former secretary of an NPA unit under the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee; and,
• Daniel Castillo, a UP Diliman student, is a former NPA political instructor.

Choyax is right when he said: “If critical thinking is vital to the institution in pursuit of truth, where’s critical thinking in this series of denial when more than a handful of UP alumni either have died in battles or have returned to the mainstream, alive and are sharing their untold stories? Some even remain to be active NPA leaders up to this date.”
By the way, I am my bosom buddy.

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