File photo: New People’s Army (NPA)
PHILIPPINES — Ka Junie is just one of the seven former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Davao region who surrendered to the government after President Rodrigo Duterte terminated peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
He stayed with the rebel organization for seven months before deciding to leave after realizing that they were just given empty promises.
“Hindi ko na kaya sa bundok. Lakad kami ng lakad tapos kulang kami sa supply,”said Junie.
(I couldn’t bear it anymore in the mountains. We were always walking to different locations and we didn’t have enough supplies.)
During his stay with the front, 15 of the rebel groups operating in Davao Oriental and Caraga Region, he was part of two encounters between government forces.
It was during a clash in Manay, Davao Oriental last February 1 where a junior army officer was killed, that Ka Junie decided to run away and surrender to the military.
“Kinabahan ako nun. Ayaw ko nang humawak ng baril. Balak ko nun tumalon na lang dahil di ko kayanh mamaril,” he said.
(I was afraid. I did not have the courage to carry my firearm anymore. I decided to escape because I really do not want to shoot people.)
Meanwhile, Ka Junie has confirmed that the NPA is recruiting minors to join their armed struggle.
“May 15 taong gulang; may 16 na taong gulang; mayroon ding 12 taon lang. Pero mukang sakitin yun dapat hindi na isinama,” said Junie. “AK 72 ang dinadala niyang armas.”
(There was a 15 year-old; a 16 year-old. There was also a 12 year-old who looked to be a sickly one. They should not have brought him along…he uses an AK 72 rifle.)
After going back to the fold of the government Ka Junie is encouraging his former colleagues to surrender.
“Nandito ang totoong pamahalaan wala diyan” he said.“Mula nang makalabas ako nakakita na ako ng liwanag. Sa bundok kasi laging madilim ang nilalakaran.”
(The true government is here, not there. Ever since I got out, I have seen the light. In the mountains, we were walking in darkness.)
On the other hand the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine army has been launching operations against the NPA after the president decided to scrap the unilateral ceasefire with the rebels. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News and Rescue
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