MANILA - The National Youth Commission on Wednesday insisted that some youth groups in the country have links to communist rebels as it ordered around 400,000 Sangguniang Kabataan officials to join the government's fight against Leftist insurgency.
Ronald Cardema, chairman of the National Youth Commission, said these youth groups regularly criticize President Rodrigo Duterte's administration and the military yet turn a blind eye at atrocities committed by communist rebels.
"Every week, you have the capacity to rally against our government troops but for the longest time wala namang naririnig ang Philippine society na nag-rally kayo against armed rebels of our country," he told ANC.
But this is not the case, according to Raoul Manuel of Youth Act Now Against Tyranny, a group critical of the administration, saying a lot of youth groups like them have been advocating for peace talks to resolve the roots of armed conflict.
"'Yun ang ating gustong mangyari, 'yung matuloy na rin 'yung peace talks sa ating bansa. For the longest time there are these two parties that have to talk to finally resolve the roots of armed conflict para marating na natin ang genuine peace," he told ANC.
Manuel added that rallies of youth groups are not even focused on condemning military abuse alone, as usually mount demonstrations about a wide array of issues, none of which the National Youth Commission has spoken about in any press statement.
"There's a wide array of issues affecting the people, wala po tayong naririnig na statement or any press release from the National Youth Commission about that," he said, adding the commission's pronouncements endangers the lives of student activists.