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Myles’ parents seek release of daughter, 5 others tagged as ‘rebels’

Climbing the mountains and immersion in hard-to-reach communities were nothing new to 21-year-old Myles Albasin.

But the mass communication graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu was not involved in any rebel activities contrary to what was portrayed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), her feisty mother Grace said on Thursday.

“My daughter is not a member of the NPA (New People’s Army). If she was in Negros Oriental for an immersion program with the farmers there, then what’s wrong with that? She is neither a drug addict or a drunkard,” said Grace in a press conference at the UP Cebu.

Since her daughter was in high school, Grace said Albasin was already a student leader and has since helped mobilize students, farmers, fishermen, union workers, and indigenous people to stand up for their rights.

Albasin was among six persons arrested by the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in an alleged encounter in Mabinay town, Negros Oriental last Saturday, March 3.

Four M-16 assault rifles with M-203 grenade launcher and two M-4 assault rifles were allegedly seized from them when they were captured.

Charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against the suspects at the Negros Oriental Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Dumaguete City.

Last Tuesday, Grace and her husband Lloyd visited Albasin for the first time at the Negros Oriental Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center since the latter was arrested.

Grace said her daughter expressed concerns over her safety while she remains in jail.

“She was scared. She’s just a human being. While she is at the hands of authorities, the tension is there,” she said.

The 45-year-old mother also revealed that she received some sort of a death threat sent through private message on Facebook.

The message read: “Kamong mga NPA, animal mo. May the bullet find you.”

“We won’t take the threat lightly,” Grace said.

She said they might seek assistance from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) or other agencies to make sure her daughter is safe.

Albasin’s dream of reaching out to the marginalized sectors of community began when she was still a teenage girl, Grace said.

“Back when she was in high school at the Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, she was already molded to become a person for others,” she said.

“Immersions are nothing new for Myles. She grew up with a lot of questions like why are there beggars on the streets? Why are there poor people? No one thought her what radicalism is. There actually was no need to teach her about that. She for herself experienced what is going on in daily life,” she added.

Albasin was offered full scholarship programs by Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan and De La Salle University, but the native of Bukidnon opted to take up Mass Communication at UP Cebu—the same course as her mother.

While she was in college, Albasin joined Anakbayan, a mass organization of the Filipino youth that aims “to arouse, organize and mobilize youth for national democracy with a socialist perspective.”

She eventually became its secretary general in Cebu.

Albasin visited fishermen, farmers, labor unions, and other groups to learn about their conditions and help address their respective concerns.

Grace said Albasin’s exposure would help her daughter if she decides to become a journalist.

“I told her, you’re taking up Mass Communication. If you eventually become a journalist, it’s hard if you do not have critical thinking. And so I did not disagree with whatever immersions she had,” said Grace who worked as an editor in chief of SunStar Cagayan de Oro and a contributor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer-Mindanao Bureau.

Albasin graduated in June 2017 and was planning to pursue law studies.

“My daughter is just a typical millennial. Her music is so millennial. As parents, we only guide our children. We don’t own them. They came through us, but not from us. They will really follow their dreams,” the feisty mother said.

“We are only guides. Whatever she believes in life, then that’s it. She has her own life,” she added.

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