“Na surprise po kami dahil nung nag surrender kami, sinundo pa kami ng kotse, pinakain pa kami.”
These were the words of excitement coming from a New People’s Army (NPA) couple, who formally turned themselves to the government last week.
Allem and her partner Jinggoy, not their real names, surrendered to the 75th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) after almost a year of hiding from their former group.Allem, 21, said she wasted almost 4 years of her life for joining the rebel group.
She said she was a 3rd year college taking Bachelor of Science major in architecture at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Manila but halted for her studies and migrated to the mountains along with other rebel recruits.
“Three years ko activist tapos 6 months ako sa NPA,” she narrated.
At first, they were hesitant to surrender because they thought that the forces of the government would maltreat them only to find out it’s the other way around.
Being with the NPA, she said was way different from what she thought would be. They said the NPA group they joined promised respect and welfare but instead, they were abused.
Allem, a former member of the militant League of Filipino Students (LFS), also said that going back to the mainstream was way better as the government promised livelihood, education and home among others.
Lt. General Felimon Santos Jr., Eastmincom commander, said the surrenderees will benefit from the government’s Enhance Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Allem, a mother of a four-month old baby boy meanwhile, encouraged the youth to avoid activism as it will only bring chaos to their lives.
“Kung wala lang unta ko nisulod ani, nakahuman na unta ko ug pag skwela ug mahatagan nako gwapong kinabuhi akoang anak,” she said.
Meantime, seven other NPA surrenderees returned to the mainstream society after experiencing lies and deceit from the NPA.
Most of them are farmers who were promised to with a P5,000 salary monthly with a sack of rice. But according to them, no salary and rice were provided.