Former NPA rebel in Aurora reunites with family after 12 years
By Jason De Asis / Philippine News Agency
BALER, Aurora – A former rebel of the New People's Army (NPA) who surrendered to authorities in Dipaculao town, this province, last week has reunited with his family whom he has not seen for 12 years.
Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of the Philippine Army's 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion (9IB), said on Tuesday the 37-year-old Berboy Calara Aviendo, alias Ka Jr/Berboy/Joey, finally saw his parents whom the troops transported to the 9IB's Alpha Company Headquarters in Dingalan town all the way from Bulacan on Monday.
Rubio said he was happy seeing Aviendo’s family was complete.
He said one of their goals is to bring together former rebels and their families after a long separation and give them an opportunity to lead peaceful and happy lives which was taken away by the exploitation and recruitment of the communist terrorist group.
“Everyone is born into a family. We need support and love that is why our troops transported the surrenderer’s parents inside our camp. They embraced each other, signifying that they really love no matter what happened. Family’s love and care are there that bring great joys to Aviendo,” Rubio said in an interview.
The former rebel surrendered to Joint Task Force Kaugnay’s 91st Infantry Battalion on January 17 and turned over his firearm the following day.
Aviendo, who has distanced himself from the organization since April last year, yielded an M14 rifle, along with a magazine for M14, and nine rounds of ammunition.
“Una sa lahat nagpapasalamat ako sa mga tumulong sa akin. Unang una sa Philippine Army na sila talaga yung pangunahing nagasikaso sa akin at lubos akong natutuwa sa mga nangyari sa akin ngayon dahil sa tinagal tagal po ng panahon na ako ay nasa kabila at ngayon ay nakita ko na mga kapatid at mga magulang ko kaya lubos lubos akong nagpapasalamat sa Philippine Army lalong lalo na sa lahat ng kasundaluhan dito sa Aurora (First of all, I thank all those who helped me. First to the Philippine Army that mainly took care of me. I am very happy with what is happening to me now because for it had been a long time that I was with the other side and now I have seen my siblings and parents, thus I am so thankful to the Philippine Army, especially to all the military troops here in Aurora)," the former rebel quoted as saying.
Rubio reiterated his appeal to the remaining members of the terrorist group to lay down their arms and avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Under the E-CLIP, a former rebel is entitled to receive immediate assistance of PHP15,000; livelihood assistance amounting to PHP50,000; and firearms remuneration, PHP12,000 to PHP500,000, among others.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front, meanwhile, has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)