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Overseas Filipino Views: Help, my child is living with rebels

 

DUBAI – While watching the recent Senate hearings in the Philippines about leftist groups recruiting youths in schools, I was heartbroken to see parents crying for their wayward children to come back to them.

These parents have sacrificed so much to provide their children with a good education and a better future, but in one fell swoop they lost their children to leftist groups that have talked the youngsters into taking up their cause in the mountains; holding guns and training for combat.

Mrs. Lucena, one of the mothers at the senate hearing, shared her experience about how her daughter completely changed from a mild mannered child to a rebellious youth after joining activist group AnakBayan. Mrs. Lucena said the last straw was when her daughter went missing for a few days. She then learned that her daughter had joined the leftist group. When she reported the incident to the school and the police, her daughter reportedly got angry and told her, “You are no longer my mother but an enemy, and I am no longer your child.”

Help, my daughter is living with rebels

Mrs. Lucena isn’t alone. Two other parents in the senate hearing, Mrs. Espina and Mrs. Caalaman, said they broke down in tears after receiving a letter from their children saying they have chosen to live with rebel groups and that “they, mothers and fathers, are just parents but have no right to their identity”.

I can only imagine the magnitude of their pain to see their precious child changing into a stranger influenced by people with strange idealism and wrong principles. As a parent, I can say that it really hurts to hear hurtful words from your child and being questioned about your ability to raise your children.

The recent issue raises so many questions. Is there a mistake in the way parents raise their children today? To what extent is a parent’s right to protect their children? Where are young people’s respect for their parents?

Times have changed and how we raise today’s young people and instill in them the values that we hold dear can have a dramatic impact on their personality and behavior.

Our youth today will be our future leaders, the hope of our nation. Being millennials, outspoken and ambitious are not bad traits but we should not forget the basic teaching of love and respect for our parents because the virtue of a person is seen in how he or she values and takes care of his or her parents.

 

Geraldine Villanueva Quizon is a Dubai-based businesswoman and general manager of Khalid Bin Hadda Group.

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