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NYC chief asks Duterte to remove scholarships of ‘rebellious students’

MANILA, Philippiens – Taking the government’s crackdown against the Left a step further, National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairman Ronald Cardema asked President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an order revoking government scholarships of students suspected to have links to the movement.

On Tuesday, February 19, Cardema asked Duterte to issue an executive order removing the subsidy of “all rebellious anti-government scholars.” He specified students who were allied with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Cardema claimed there were incidents of students supposedly caught as armed rebels fighting against government forces.

“The Filipino People formed the Government to govern, to regulate, to discipline, to collect taxes, and to allocate the Filipino People’s funds into government scholarships & programs. Fighting the government means fighting the majority of the Filipino People,” he said.

Directives to the youth: Cardema also called on officials of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK), Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), and Citizen Army Training (CAT) to report “rebellious anti-government scholars” to the NYC.

He claimed it was their “duty” to “strengthen” the country and “identify/fight” those who tried to “crush” the Philippines.

“I am directing all pro-government youth leaders of our country…& fellow nationalistic student leaders & youth org leaders in schools & communities, to report…all youth leaders & government scholars who are known in your area as anti-government youth leaders allied with the leftist CPP-NPA-NDF,” he said.

Why does this matter? Cardema, who was the leader of the Duterte Youth movement before his appointment to the NYC, earlier asked SK officials nationwide to "fight" leftist youth groups.

Now, he is once again calling for coordinated action against leftist groups, targeting the youth once more.

University officials, students, and professors spoke out against previous efforts to link educational institutions to leftist groups, saying it was a “baseless and dangerous” accusation. (READ: 2018 blockbuster: Red October plot vs Duterte Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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