Youth activist to military: Don’t use me to railroad your agenda

Mara Cepeda

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Youth activist to military: Don’t use me to railroad your agenda
Alicia Lucena denies she was kidnapped by Anakbayan and slams the military for using her 'family issues' to revive the Anti-Subversion Law

MANILA, Philippines – Anakbayan youth activist Alicia Lucena has accused the military of using her family problems to lobby for the restoration of the Anti-Subversion Law.

The 18-year-old faced the media together with lawmakers from the progessive Makabayan bloc on Wednesday, August 14, about a week after her mother testified in a Senate hearing that her daughter left home after joining Anakbayan. 

“Nakakalungkot din pong isipin na ginagamit po ng military ang isyu namin sa pamilya para iratsada po lahat ng nasa agenda nila, katulad ng sinasabi nila na ibalik po ang Anti-Subrversion Law po tapos magkakaroon ng martial law po sa mga eskuwelahan po namin,” said Lucena.

(It’s sad to think the military is using our issues in the family to railroad everything in their agenda, like the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law and imposing martial law in our schools.)

She denied she was kidnapped by Anakbayan and clarified that she voluntarily joined the militant group.  (READ: Anakbayan: ‘Missing’ youth activist is free and safe

“Isa po akong miyembro ng Anakbayan…. Naglilinaw po na hindi po ako nawala o kinidnap dahil boluntaryo po akong sumali sa Anakbayan dahil nakikita ko po ang pangangailangan ng pagkilos ng mga kabataan,” said Lucena.

(I am a member of Anakbayan…. Let me clarifythat Iwas  neither missing nor kidnapped because I voluntarily joined Anakbayan because I saw the need for the youth to organize.) 

The police recently filed kidnapping and other charges against Anakbayan members after Lucena’s alleged “disappearance.”

On Wednesday, Lucena said she ran away from home because her parents brought her to Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Bagong Diwa so she could speak with former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who have surrendered to the government. The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP. 

“Mostly ‘pag dinadala po ako, ‘di po ako aware na dadalhin ako…. Kinakausap nila ako… Tapos ina-assume nilang may mga ginagawa akong illegal,” said Lucena.

(Many times I was not aware that would be brought there…. They would talk to me and assume I was doing something illegal.)

She said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte was not concerned with the welfare of children, citing the bloody drug war that had claimed the lives of minors.

“Isang kalokohan po. Dahil ‘yong sinasabi nila na concerned sila sa aming mga kabataan pero hindi naman po totoo ’yon dahil ang dami nilang pinapaslang na mga kabataan ngayon po sa Oplan Tokhang po at sa martial law po sa Mindanao, at sa iba-ibang panig ng Pilipinas na di naaabot ng media,” said Lucena.

(That’s a joke. They’re saying they’re concerned with the youth but that’s not true because a lot of youg people are being killed under Oplan Tokhang and martial law in Mindanao, and other events in other parts of the country that the media doesn’t reach)

Her mother was among the parents of student activists who testified during a Senate hearing on the proposed amendments to the anti-terrorism bill presided by Senator Ronald dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police chief.

During the same hearing, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, a former military chief, pushed for the revival of the the Anti-Subversion Law  which criminalized membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.