(Villamor C. Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency News Stringer)
ECHAGUE, Isabela – Taking a cue from its neighboring institution, the Isabela State University (ISU) has also pulled out 23 National Democratic Front (NDF) handbooks from the library of its main campus in this town.
After Kalinga State University earlier made the same move, ISU president Ricmar Aquino told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday that he has immediately advised all the librarians of the different ISU campuses in the province to pull out similar books from their respective libraries.
The school system has 11 campuses in the province, located in Cabagan, Ilagan, Roxas, Jones, Cauayan and San Mateo, among other localities, aside from this town.
Aquino turned over the said books to Dennis Godfrey Gammad, regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and cluster head of the Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management Cluster of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).
Aquino said the pulling out and turnover of the books was witnessed by Col. Leandro Abeleda, deputy commander, who represented Brig. Gen. Danilo Benavidez of the Army’s 501st Infantry Brigade.
“ISU supports the government program’s ‘whole of nation approach’. ISU as an academic institution, has its mandate to protect the Filipino youth and ensure their future by providing them quality and relevant education. Our students should not, therefore, be exposed to anything that will destroy their future,” he said.
The decision of ISU to ban the said books is “part of the commitment to protect the university and students from possible threat and harm that the communists can impose,” Aquino added.
The military said the pullout and withdrawal of all NDF books from the ISU will save the youth from Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-NDF (CPP-NPA-NDF) recruitment.
“The action of the officials and leadership of the ISU indicates that they are against the CPP-NPA-NDF ideologies and to safeguard the institution from communist infiltration. This also shows the commitment of the different government agencies particularly the academe in support to EO (Executive Order) 70/NTF-ELCAC to put an end to the communist insurgency in the region,” Benavidez said in message.
Gammad, who received the books, thanked the university and lauded its move in pulling out the subversive materials from its library.
“As gateways to knowledge and culture, libraries play a fundamental role in society. The books you read become part of you; therefore, commitment and accountabilities lie in every page you read,” the NICA director added.
The ceremonial turnover of the NDF handbooks marked the partnership of the NTF-ELCAC with colleges and universities under the whole of nation approach in protecting the youth and students from being deceived and recruited by communists, Aquino added.