Tricked by NPA, ex-rebel wishes to get his ailing wife back
By Nef Luczon / Philippine News Agency
RECOLLECTIONS. Isagani Pepito (right) shares his experiences with 1st Lt. Abigail F. Lorenzo of the 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) about his time as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in this undated photo. Pepito surrendered to the 8IB on Jan. 16, 2022, as he claimed to have been demoralized and saw no future with the rebel group. (Photo courtesy of 8IB)
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - A former unit leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) who started in the communist group as a young supply carrier said the group tricked him into believing a better life was in store for him if he joined the movement.
In a statement Friday, Isaganni Pepito, 35, claimed he was "deceived to join the armed struggle when he was still 28 years old."
"I am a former member of the youth sector organized by the NPA so that they will have couriers in the hinterlands of Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. When I became a regular NPA [member] in 2015, none of their promises happened. I did not attain a better future," he said.
Pepito surrendered to the Army's 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) on January 16.
He was the team leader of Team Baking, Squad 1, Platoon Dario, Guerilla Front 89, Sub-Regional Committee 2, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (GF89, SRC2, NCMRC).
The Army said Pepito was one of the remnants of the GF89 that was officially declared dismantled last November 23, 2021.
Pepito lamented that he has yet to get back his wife, Tata Almahan, a former medic of the GF89 and now the medic of the Regional Sentro De Grabidad Compaq, NCMRC, who is still in the mountains and suffering from heart disease.
"I hope that my wife will be able to return and surrender to the government to receive treatment and for our family to be reunited," he said in the vernacular.
Lt. Col. Anthony Bacus, 8IB Commander, welcomed the decision of Pepito to return to the folds of the law because the Army was able to save another life "from the grasps, destruction, and death brought by the armed struggle."
"We continue our call to the remaining CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) that they come down from the mountains and accept the assistance and programs of the government for your peaceful and happy future," he said.
Meanwhile, four former rebels, and 159 Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit- Active Auxiliary (CAA) received financial and food assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office - Northern Mindanao (DSWD-10) last January 17 to 18, 2022 at the Cedar Springs, Barangay Impalutao, Impasugong, Bukidnon.
DSWD-10 director Mari-flor A Dollaga said the agency will take care of the former rebels and their families, even as it encouraged the remaining communist rebels to surrender as well.
Abner Guilosan, former platoon leader, Platoon 1, Headquarters Force Neo, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee, was one of the beneficiaries who acknowledged the efforts of the national government.
Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Barandon, commander of the 403rd Brigade, during his speech, said the CAAs and former rebels in Maramag, Bukidnon have already been given the same financial and food assistance from the DSWD.
"We really appreciate the angels in red vest headed by Dir. Dollaga for always heeding our call-in providing aid not only to our FRs but also to our CAAs who are the partners of our soldiers in the implementation of Executive Order 70," he said. (PNA)