Nine former rebels who surrendered to the units of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) were formally turned over to the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) and the Development and Interior of Local Government (DSWD) on Thursday.
Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., EastMinCom commander, personally endorsed them over to DSWD representative Karen Gayonan and DILG representatives Carl John Mahinay and Edwin Mayormita during a simple ceremony at the Army headquarters in Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan.
One of the surrenderee was identified as alias Alem, 21, a resident of Malabon City and former political guide of the NPA in the tri boundary of Davao del Norte, Agusan Sur, and Compostela Valley.
In her revelation during the press briefing, she said that she was a 3rd year BS Architecture student of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Metro Manila. She was an active organizer of several left-leaning youth organizations such as the League of Filipino Students in PUP, Anakbayan in Caloocan City and Pandi, Bulacan, and Samahan ng Kabataang Demokratiko sa Asyenda Luisita (Sakdal) in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac City.
She further said that, together with other 24 students from Manila, she joined the participants of Manilakbayan protest march on their return to Mindanao on September 2017. They then joined the protest rally of Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Incorporated in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte before their immersion and eventual integration into the New People’s Army in Mindanao.
Together with her live-in partner alias Jinggoy, the former commander of the unit of the armed group in the tri-boundary of Compostela Valley-Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur, whom she met in the organization, they surrendered on April 22, to Lt. Col. Jaime Datuin of the 75th Infantry Battalion in Bislig, Surigao del Sur.
Their wish to surrender was further boosted when they were encouraged by the parents of alias Jinggoy. They brought with them their four-month-old baby boy.
The other seven former rebels surrendered in two batches to the troops of the 39th Infantry Battalion last April 19 and April 21.
The surrender of these seven NPAs was facilitated by the different government agencies and the barangay council of Colonsabak, Matanao, Davao del Sur. With them were one Bushmaster rifle, one M203 Grenade Launcher, one Baby Armalite, on M16 rifle, M14 rifle, one Garand rifle, and ammunition.
During the turnover, the DSWD and DILG representatives committed to assist the surrenderees as part of their mandate to implementation of Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Santos gave emphasis on the case of alias Alem as proof that students continue to be deceived by the NPA.
“Alias Alem is a classic example of how NPA recruit students,” Santos said.
“They deceptively indoctrinate students using social issues to mask their real objective until they become student activists, joining and organizing rallies and undergo exposure and immersion with the armed group before finally integrated,” he added.