The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) branded as a “big mistake” the conferment of the One Young World “Politician of the Year Award” to Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago.
“This award is, therefore, a slap on the face of the Filipino people on whom Rep. Sarah Elago has directly harmed by the violent ideology she espouses,” it said in a statement Monday.
The task force said the award “is salt rubbed in the raw wounds of mothers who roam this earth searching for children this person had a direct hand in radicalizing and who lost their way while following the lead of this terrorist group they had made the fatal mistake of joining”.
According to its website, the One Young World “Politician of the Year Award” is given to the “world’s most impactful politicians using their positions to create change for young people in their communities and countries.”
The NTF-ELCAC said even the best intentions can go astray, referring to the move to award Elago.
The task force said the One Young World should have asked first what kind of social change is being pushed, saying Elago is pushing “a violent and obsolete Maoist Leninist Marxist insurrectionist agenda”.
It added that putting Elago along with deserving leaders is a “grave insult and horrific injustice not only to these leaders who have pushed for positive social change in their respective countries but is an affront to humanity in its entirety”.
Meanwhile, the Hands Off Our Children Movement, composed of parents of children supposedly recruited by militant groups, strongly condemned the conferment of the award to Elago.
“Ito ay hindi makaturangan para sa mga pamilyang nasira at mga kabataang nawasak ang kinabukasan ng dahil sa tinuturing nilang One Young World “Politician of the Year” (This is unfair for families and the future of children which were ruined by what they claim as One Young World “Politician of the Year”), it said in a separate post.
The group said it is painful for them that a person like Elago is being given this kind of recognition.
The group said while Elago created change for young people in the community, it was in a “negative way” as they were taught to fight government and turn away from their families.
“Tumatangis ang mga magulang dahil hindi nila alam kung buhay pa ba ang kanilang mga anak, mga pamilyang pinipilit maging normal ang buhay (the parents are crying because they do not even know if their children are still alive, as they strive to live a normal life),” they said.
Member-parents of the organization alleged that left-leaning organizations have recruited their children to become full-time activists.
Among the testimonies given by the group is that of Rey Christian Sabado, whom they claimed encountered Elago a number of times last year during meetings after becoming a student activist.
Sabado was caught by military troops in an operation in Samar in 2019 as an NPA member.
Therese Fuentes, a member of the group, earlier said his son, Frances Ern Mariveles, joined a militant group during his first year in college at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 2016.
She said Frances, later, stopped schooling and left his family.
She said four years have passed and they are still looking for Frances’ whereabouts.
Meanwhile, the group claimed that another student, Trisha Antoniano, has been “missing” for three years now.
The group said she was often seen with Elago during gatherings initiated by the Kabataan Party-list.
Her parents vowed to do everything to get back their daughter.
Meanwhile, Elvie Caalaman said her daughter, Lorevie, stopped schooling and left her family to go full-time in a militant organization.
The group added that Alicia Jasper Lucena, also a student, was also part of the election campaign of Elago.
The group said she eventually stopped attending school and left her family.
Her mother, Relisa Lucena, filed a writ of habeas corpus and amparo before the Supreme Court in May to get her daughter back.
Members of the group said they broke their silence and are now fighting for their children, as they urge parents like them to keep an eye on their children and prevent them from being recruited by militant organizations. (PNA)