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Zambo Sur’s NPA surrenderer gets new lease on life

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. / Philippine News Agency

NEW LEASE ON LIFE. Mavic Millavelez Abuhan, a former political guide of the defunct Guerrilla Front KARA of the New People's Army's (NPA) Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, receives her certificate of discharge from prison during her release on May 21, 2021 from the Zamboanga del Sur provincial jail. Her release was made possible through the effort of the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict. (Photo lifted from the Army's 53rd Infantry Battalion Facebook Page)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Recruited into the communist terrorist group when she was 16, Mavic Millavelez Abuhan said she decided to return to the government fold after having realized the "deceptions" of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“They took advantage of my weakness. They were able to persuade me to join their legal front, but I was actually recruited into the NPA,” Abuhan said in a statement posted late Thursday on the Facebook Page of the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion (53IB).

Abuhan, who was known as "Chubby" in the rebel movement, was already 33-years-old when she surrendered in March 2019.

She spent more than 17 years of "distressful life" with the NPA until she became a political guide of the defunct Guerilla Front KARA of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).

After she surrendered, the 53IB headed by Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera provided her financial and livelihood assistance to help her regain her life.

However, the life of an NPA surrenderer was not always smooth for Abuhan, who had to face charges for crimes committed while under the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA (CPP-NPA).

Fortunately, Abuhan said the military and several government agencies came to her aid, including the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Task Force for Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) Legal Cooperation Cluster.

After being detained for eight months, the court issued Abuhan a certificate of discharge, paving way for her release from the Zamboanga del Sur provincial jail after being absolved of 13 criminal cases.

Lawyer Jackielyn Krystyl Nehema Bana, PTF-ELCAC legal cluster head and Zamboanga del Sur provincial legal officer, said Abuhan "deserves justice on the filed cases against her because she was a victim of CPP-NPA deceptions".

Abuhan's release from prison, Bana said, showed that "the legal system truly works fair and square for former NPA rebels".

Herrera said the legal assistance given to Abuhan was proof of the government's "resolve in ending the local communist armed conflict".

Brig. Gen. Leonel Nicolas, 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, described the release of Abuhan as "another milestone in our efforts to provide legal assistance and help former NPA rebels regain better lives".

“Chubby’s case is a manifestation that the government is committed to assisting those former rebels with pending cases, related to their previous affiliations as members of the Communist Terrorist Group, once they voluntarily return to the fold of the law,” Nicolas added.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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