An NPA couple surrendered to the 8th Infantry Battalion in Poblacion Impasugong, Bukidnon yesterday.
Lt. Col. Ronald Illana, the 8IB commander, said the surrenderees were the sixth couple to surrender to their unit since last year.
Illana identified them only as alias Koko and his wife Keny. They were just 17 and 15, respectively, when recruited in 2014. They were active in the New People’s Army for five years.
He said the two got married while they were with the Regional Sentro De Grabidad Compaq, North Central Mindanao Regional Command.
Also, Keny is currently four months pregnant.
The couple reportedly got the chance to escape when their commander allowed them to go to a clinic for a medical checkup. They immediately went to the Army headquarters, bringing with them a .45 caliber pistol with ammunition.
Koko reportedly told soldiers that he was scared to turn down the rebels’ invitation to join them.
I dont want to die there. The group is in disarray and we lost our mass supporters. We are isolated in the hinterlands, which makes it hard for us to find our food and seek medical help, he said.
Illana said they will help the couple file cases against the rebels who recruited them. They joined the group at a very young age and thats a violation of their rights, he said.
After the medical checkup, the Army will assist the couple to be enrolled in the E-CLIP program so they could receive financial and livelihood assistance.