Soldiers, PNP, SK-Ilocos Sur join hands against drugs, violent extremism 

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – In line with the mandates of Executive Order 70 that is institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in ending insurgency, the troops of the 71st Infantry (Kaibigan) Battalion, 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army conducted an information awareness drive to the youth participants during the conduct of 1st Provincial Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) Leadership Summit spearheaded by the “Panlalawigang Pederasyon ng Sangguniang Kabataan ng Ilocos Sur (PPSK)” and Ilocos Sur Police Provincial Office held at the Provincial Farmers Livelihood and Development Center, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur on September 30, 2022.

During the activity, 170 youths from the 34 municipalities in the province of Ilocos Sur participated in the series of lectures and activities highlighting the importance of mental health awareness, preventing illegal proliferation and the role of youth in nation-building.

Kabataan Kontro Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) is a program of the Philippine National Police in partnership with the Sangguniang Kabataan and other agencies in order to promote the spirit of volunteerism among the youth and student sectors and empower them to become proactive partners of the government in the nationwide cascading of advocacies relative to the campaign against illegal drugs and violent extremism. 

Further, the 71st Infantry (Kaibigan) Battalion conducted lecture on the recruitment schemes of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) as well as how the youth and student sector become the most vulnerable target of recruitment. In addition, a former rebel shared his testimony to the participants highlighting his personal experiences how the CPP NPA NDF infiltrates, recruits and destroys every sector in the society especially the youth sector and how he was saved from the ills of supporting the terroristic organization.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Michael B. Bautista, Commanding Officer of 71IB, it is very important that the Sangguniang Kabataan spearheads activities in partnership with the different law enforcement agencies in safeguarding the youth sector from the deceptive recruitment of the Communist Terrorist Group. By that, the mandates of the EO70 are reinforced through the concerted efforts of the local and national agencies in ending local communist armed conflict.

On the other hand, Major General Andrew D Costelo, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division lauded the initiative of the Local Government units involve, PNP-Ilocos Sur and 71st IB for enlightening the youth sectors against harmful aspects of the community and pledges to contribute to the growth and empowerment of the young generations.