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MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said that it is only trying to educate the public and popular individuals on the dangers of getting heavily involved with the communist terrorists and their allied groups.

The military issued the statement Saturday after Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) chief and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) member, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., advised actress Liza Soberano to abdicate her ties with Gabriela Youth early this week after she participated in a webinar with the group.

The action drew flak from some sectors with Parlade being accused of red-tagging the actress.

“We in the AFP (have) the solemn obligation to fight and defeat communist terrorists w/c means death from either side. But before we reach that point, we trail our focus on prevention. Hence the effort to inform Ms. Soberano and educate the netizens,” AFP spokesperson Marine Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement forwarded to reporters Saturday.

He clarified that the AFP is not saying that Soberano is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and that they are worried that the actress and her advocacies may be used by some sectors with reported links to the underground movement in recruiting for the communist terrorist group (CTG) owing to her popularity.

Arevalo added that the CTG is known to recruit students, youth leaders, and influencers and is not propaganda being spread by the AFP.

“Student leaders Lapira, Manalo, et al., who figured and died during Armed encounters with soldiers were testaments to this deadly trail. The fact that Hands Off Our Children came about is a truth to tell,” he said.

This is why the AFP is working hard to prevent the recruitments of these youths by the communist rebels and their allies, he added.

“And this sworn duty of protecting our people is what we in the AFP cannot abdicate knowing the stories of many young and idealist student leaders who were dragged into the ranks of the CTG and meeting their untimely death for a worthless cause that is now being rejected not only by our people but by nations all over the world,” Arevalo said.

He added the AFP has the highest respect for women and women’s rights that are being espoused by Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.

“We even accorded military honors to the former Miss Universe in August 2019 for bringing prestige to Filipino Women and for her advocacies,” Arevalo said.

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