By: Ella Mae Oscillada
Photos by Kevin Balisalisa, Cheska Serafico, and Jose Realino
Former revolutionary leader Elmo Saldoval talked to the youth about his life and experiences involving the issue of rebellion. This discussion was done during the ‘GE Leaps: BIG SHOTS Series’ held on October 30, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the school auditorium.
In his youth, Saldoval was an activist with good intentions. Having been a former member and leader of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), he had experienced rallying against Ferdinand Marcos to promote human rights.
However, when he became fully involved in the New People’s Army (NPA), Saldoval began to see the downsides of the life he had chosen. He conveyed his regret in recruiting his 14-year-old neighbor who had grown up to become a famous ‘partisano’ (a person who kills officers and soldiers in the city of Davao). He also expressed his grief over 56 deaths of his people and millions of deaths in other parts of the country during his time with the NPA.
Saldoval had enough of it. Using these experiences to sway the youth, he then stated, “It was taught in our schools that revolution is the key to solving poverty, but after what had happened to me, I believe that it might not be the case at all; it seemed to be the people themselves who are the keys to solving the issues in our country.”
NEDA’s representative speaker Fresita Araneta came afterward to give information about their organization’s role, purpose, and importance to society.
Araneta talked about the ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040’ of NEDA which aimed to make the Philippines a prosperous and predominantly middle-class society by 2040. They envisioned the country as a nation without poverty, without danger, with longevity, and with innovation.