Hands-off our Children Movement tells communist group ‘back off’

By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay

Parents of missing young rebels lashed out at leftist groups and their members saying that their bad influence led their children to leave causing them untold miseries for years.

This was the common call of the officers and members of the Hands-Off our Children Movement who participated in the Bayanihan Act 2 and Baranggayanihan spearheaded by the 91st Civil Military Operations (DIPLOMAT) Company, 9th Civil Military Operations (KAAGAPAY) Battalion of the 9th Infantry Division held Friday, April 29, at Sitio Balatongan, Zone 3, Concepcion Grande, Naga City.

The activity was in support of the government’s Executive Order No.70, which aimed to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach that urged community participation the government’s peace agenda.

Mothers’ agony over their lost children

Luisa Espina said she lost her daughter, Louvaine Erika to the rebel group at the tender age of 16, a crucial time when she was supposed to start enjoying her teenage years while focusing on her studies. Louvaine was a student leader at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP)-Sta. Mesa in 2016.

She said that her daughter used to be a jolly kid, studious but was able to balance her family life and her studies. She was a typical teenager who was head over heels about Korean drama and K-pop. Things suddenly changed after she was recruited by Anakbayan. Instead of finishing school, she is now a full-time activist and has not contacted her family since 2018.

Luisa and her husband, Elmer, was with other parents who were in Naga and have been going to other military and police activities hoping to be heard and hoping to find their sons and daughters whose minds and hearts, they said, have hardened due to the hatred planted by the militant group to their young minds and hearts.

“Akala natin activism is not terrorism. Hindi kami titigil na hubaran sila ng mascara sa ginawa nilang pang re recruit sa kabataan dahil ito yong pinaghuhugutan namin, yong sakit na ginawa nyo sa amin, Ayaw na naming maranasan pa ng iba pang mga magulang, na masira ang kinabukasan ng mga kabataan at mawasak ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino,” Luisa said.

Luisa is the current vice chairperson of Hands-Off Our Children Movement.

Annabel Sabado, the group’s secretary has another tale to tell.

She said that she was somehow fortunate since she was able to see her son and was able to bring him back from the armed movement. Though his son is now serving in the military, she said that she won’t stop her advocacy of spreading awareness regarding the communists’ way of filtering the truth just to gain the trust of the youth and let them embrace the armed struggle.

“Hands-off Our Children Movement is a group of mothers wherein ang mga anak namin ay biktima ng lies and deceptions ng mga legal front ng CPP NPA, gaya ng kabataan partylist, Gabriela, LFS at iba pa. Pinupuno nila ng galit ang isip at puso ng aming mga anak, ng mga kabataan para magalit sa gobyerno,” Annabel said.

She said that Chan-Chan, her son was taking up Accountancy at PUP and was serving as class president.

“Dahil presidente sya ng klase, ay hinimok sya ng SAMASA Party Alliance para sumali sa student council. During that time, doon na nagkaroon ng sudden changes sa kanya. This is the reason why hayagan akong magsalita kung papano na recruit ang aking anak and the sudden changes mula sa kanyang pag uugali and after that palalim na ng palalim, nilagyan nila ng galit sa kanilang kaisipan, iniexploit ang kanilang murang kaisipan, nilagyan ng galit, hanggang sa dumating na sumumpa sila sa Kabatang makabayan,” Annabel stated.

Luisa and Annabel were with two other mothers, Levi Caramat and Jacqueline Mendoza, who both said that their children were recruited by the communist white area legal fronts, which include Anakbayan, Gabriela, Gabriela, Kabataang Makabayan, Anakpawis and other organizations dubbed as left-leaning parties.

They all vowed to never give up until they have their sons and daughters back.

“Hindi kami titigil na hubaran sila ng mascara sa ginawa nilang pang re-recruit sa kabataan. Pinaghuhugutan namin yong sakit na ginawa ninyo sa amin. Ayaw na naming maranasan pa ng iba pang mga magulang, na masira ang kinabukasan ng mga kabataan at mawasak ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino. Kaya nandidito kami, ang Hand Off our Children para magkakalat ng awareness, hubaran ng mascara kung sino ang may kagagawan kung bakit niyakap ng aming mga anak ang armadong pakikibaka, at kung bakit nadala ang aming mga anak sa pagiging NPA,” Luisa said. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)