DILG wants to restore law against subversion

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
DILG wants to restore law against subversion
The anti-subversion law or RA 1700 was passed in June 1957 during the presidency of Carlos P. Garcia. The law outlawed the Hukbalahap movement and the communist party for aiming to set up a totalitarian regime in the Philippines and placing the country under a foreign power.

MANILA, Philippines — From 500 to 1,000 youths are indocrinated annually by communist rebels, and the government should consider restoring the law making subversion a criminal offense.

This is according to Secretary Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), who also wants to amend and strengthen the law against terrorism.

Año issued the statement amid concerns raised by parents about their children who have gone missing reportedly after being recruited by left-leaning organizations. He said youth group Anakbayan is also reportedly recruiting students to join a rebellion against the government.

He told The STAR that Republic Act 9372, the Human Security Act, has not been used against terrorism because it punished even honest mistakes of law enforcers with stiff fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years.

The anti-subversion law or RA 1700 was passed in June 1957 during the presidency of Carlos P. Garcia. The law outlawed the Hukbalahap movement and the communist party for aiming to set up a totalitarian regime in the Philippines and placing the country under a foreign power.

During martial law, RA 1700 was expanded through Presidential Decree 885 in 1976 and PD 1835 in 1981. The decrees made it a subversive criminal act to be affiliated with a group, attend a meeting or take part in any activity meant to overthrow the government.

In September 1992, then president Fidel Ramos repealed the law that made subversion a criminal offense, but sedition remained a crime. RA 7636 also legalized the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) amid peace talks with the rebels.

Año, however, lamented that the CPP has only been fooling the government as its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) continues to wage a rebellion.

Citing intelligence reports, Año said some 500 to 1,000 youths are being indocrinated every year by the CPP-NPA to either become their fighters or serve as militant student leaders in their respective schools.

He said reviving the anti-subversion law would complement President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Año noted that the United States has not repealed its Communist Control Act of 1954.

“That’s why it’s impossible for subversive organizations to thrive in the US,” he said.

‘Envoys of peace’

Meanwhile, the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) has called on the youth to honor their parents and strive to become future leaders and good citizens of the country.

“Honor your parents, be ambitious, be cautious and be the ambassadors of peace and development in your communities,” said EMC chief Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. in the light of the Senate’s investigation on the missing students.

He issued the challenge during the closing program of Youth For Peace Movement’s Youth Leaders Summit-Eastern Mindanao, in Mt. Moriah Camp, Pagatpat, Malaybalay, Bukidnon last Sunday.

Santos related his message to the concerns and stories of parents who appeared recently in the Senate seeking help for their children who disowned their families after they were recruited by some party-list groups.?Participants of the youth activity responded by handing over their proposed program of activities, an output of their workshop on how they will contribute to peace and development. 

It covers four thematic programs: organizational development, community development, peace communication, and youth development.?The EMC said the three-day youth activity – a gathering of 117 youth leaders from Regions 10, 11, 12 and 13 – includes a cultural night, lectures on local governance, government’s peace and development programs and a workshop.?The closing activity was likewise graced by DILG Assistant Secretary for Mindanao affairs Marjorie Jalosjos and executive director Julius Gutierrez of the National Youth Commission.

Sen. Leila de Lima has encouraged the Filipino youth to serve as instruments for positive change in society amid the enormous challenges facing the country.

“I am calling on all the Filipino youth to let their voices be heard and to contribute in achieving our shared causes for your family and our country,” De Lima said in her message for the International Youth Day celebration on Aug. 12.

The Filipino youth, as the country’s future leaders, should be given a chance to succeed and to live in a society founded on the principle of humility, compassion and selfless public service, De Lima emphasized.

The former election lawyer also called on the Filipino youth to register for future elections to secure a chance to elect the right leaders who will advance their welfare and rights.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has slated the voter registration period from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2019 despite calls for the postponement of the 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Sadly, De Lima said, today’s youth are faced with enormous challenges that could derail their development toward becoming responsible and productive citizens of the nation. – With Michael Punongbayan, Cecille Suerte Felipe

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