By Rey Anthony Chiu | 10:05 PM October 30, 2021
Do not allow yourself to be used as a machinery for the Communist Party of the Philippines and their armed New People’s Army to hoard more money for their leaders’ benefits.
This sums up the open confession which a son of a Gabriella leader and former red fighter Bernardo Santos (not his real name), whose youthful idealism stoked by false promises of the communist insurgents almost cost him his future.
Speaking during the Briefing and Orientation of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration program (E-CLIP) in the campaign to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC), Santos said he has almost dedicated his life to the cause of the insurgents, until recent changes in the organization direction pointed towards baseless killings, arson, illegal collection of taxes from the poor and extortion.
Tried and tested true blooded fighter, Santos has accordingly asked his commanders to take care of his family’s needs while he is staking his life in the underground.
They told me, “Usa ka dugo-ong sakripisyo ang rebolusyon.”
“I was appalled by their reply,” he said sadly.
“And when we started losing ground, many of our leaders became paranoid, they accuse everyone of being a spy,” he said after the government started anti rebel campaigns.
Then followed the personal style of determining justice, ordering killings of innocent civilians, to sow fear and arrest their sliding grip on the communities that feed them.
Santos has long gone down from the mountains, his idealism on the revolution to change the economic conditions of the poor, now in shambles.
Santos, who now leads an anti communist movement called Bohol Organized New Guardians Association – Grupong Bol-anon alang sa Kalambuan ug Kalinaw (BONGA-GBKK), has been going around Bohol hinterland barangays to call on his former comrades and their families to lay down their arms and live in peace.
He, along with his former rebel companions have been the governments living testimonies of the goodwill offer in the ALCAC, according to army 2nd Lieutenant Charmaine Sancho, Civil Military Operations Officer of the 47th Infantry Batallion, of the Philippine Army based in carmen, Bohol.
Leading now 18 clusters of rebel returnee groups, Santos reveals he never fears death, but rather could not stand his conscience seeing young children being misled into a false ideology that has yet to fulfill its promise after 53 years.
Santos and his group helps in spreading the word about how serious the government is in ELCAC and is dangling the package of assistance a former rebel or a supporter and his family can avail to start a new life in peace.
The ECLIP is a government program that helps the CPP-NPA-NDF and Militia ng Bayan members to restore their allegiance to the Philippine government and community and be reunited with their families, explains 2Lt. Sancho during the briefing at the Sinugbuan Hall in time for the information officers Bisita Opisina.
By help, she means surrenderees can get financial aid, remuneration for surrenders firearms, amnesty, safety and security guarantees, housing, skills and education, health services, social and community inclusion, legal services, livelihood and employment assistance, and strategic communication enhancements.
For those who have decided to live in peace, all they need to do is go to their barangay chairmen, local chief executives, the police or the military authorities so their new lives can start as soon.
Under the ECLIP program, those who give up their arms can get reintegration cash assistance, firearms, explosives, and ammunitions remuneration, Immediate assistance, Livelihood assistance including livelihood materials and implements or employment assistance and access to government services.
They can also get medical, legal, housing assistance, modified conditional cash transfer, loans and market access, alternative learning system in education, psychosocial assistance, college tuition and stipend and conditional transitional grants, according to 2LT Sancho. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
LET’S ELCAC. A former rebel and 47IBs CMO Officer 2Lt Charmaine Sancho issues the call again to rebels who are still holding a slipping grip of their muddled ideologies to come down and surrender, to live in peace and be supported for their reintegration. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)