MISAMIS ORIENTAL, June 28 (PIA) - Alias Dino, one of the three combatants of the New People's Army who surrendered to the 58th Infantry Battalion in Claveria Misamis Oriental shared hunger and a life of hiding and running was what they had to endure to realize there is no future in a lost cause.
Alias Dino, Dina and Jegs are three of the NPA combatants who have escaped their difficult life in the mountains as NPA combatants to find refugee in the arms of the government.
According to Dino, they were deceived when they were invited by the group eight years ago. The leaders there said that the NPA is the right government, a government for the poor, Dino shared.
In the many years that he has lived there, Dino recalled, they were always bombarded with stories against the government but he realized all of them were not true.
They were told when they joined the NPA that they would have a life that would seek justice and promised them of equality. "None of this ever happened," he said.
They toiled and toiled but nothing happened with their life. In fact, it became harder each day, he shared. "That is why I have decided to come back especially that my cousin said that the government provides assistance to the poor that is why I have decided to come back with my wife."
"Dako kaau among pasalamat nga gidawat mi sa gobyerno, kinasingkasing. Wala gyud mi kusi-a maski gamay, nga naa pa gyud to gi-ingon sa akong kaban nga ayaw mo surrender kai patyon mo sa sundalo, kung babae igo ra mo binuangan. Nasaksihan nko karon nga dili di na tinuod. - (We are very grateful to the government, no harm was done to us not a single scratch. Contrary to what they have said that if we surrender, the army will kill us and the women will be taken advataged. I have witnessed now that all those allegations are not true)," he said.
He urged the other members left in the mountains to come back to the folds of the government.
"Gipakaon ko nila insakto, ayaw namo pag agwanta dinha, grabe ka gutom dinha. Ayaw mog kawili dinha sa trabaho nga walai kapuslanan. Balik nami dni sa gobyerno kei diri atong kaugmaon para sa atona mga anak og mga bata puhon og atong mga ginikanan. Ayaw mo og kawili dinha," he said.
(The army has fed us well, they have given us food. Do not endure the difficult life there. Do not be attached with the work there because it has no purpose. Come back to the government because this is where our future lies for our kids and parents. Do not be attached there.)
LTC Ricky L. Canatoy, commanding officer of 58th Infantry Battalion said this is a new beginning to our brothers and sisters who returned to the folds of government.
By accepting them and allowing them to come back, Canatoy said, this could be a way to show that the government and mainstream society truly cares.
The national government and the local government is giving its full support to NPA surrendered through a unified effort.
The Regional, Provincial, Municipal and even Barangay Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) are providing support through Enhanced - Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) where there are firearms renumeration, livelihood assistance and other support from various government agencies.
The 58th Infantry Battalion, Canatoy said, is always open to accept NPA who decides to surrender and join the government. It is important that they come down before it is too late. "As soon as possible, before 2021, we can solve this problem," he said. (JMORucat/PIA10)