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Former rebel now talks peace while in Army uniform

At a very young age, “Ka Glena”  was made to witness how a communist group works.

She was made to believe misleading information that made her join the revolutionary movement.

It was not late, however, for Ka Glena to realize that she was led to the wrong direction and has since shed off her alias as she returned to the folds of the law.

Ka Glena now uses her real name, Mary Joy C. Acak whenever she gives a talk about her life as a rebel and how she reinvented herself to become a peacemaker and a real soldier of the Republic.

Seeing Acak giving a talk about her past life while wearing a regulation BDU (battle dress uniform) of the Philippine Army is a surreal experience.

Acak, who is now a member of the 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion, revealed that it was easy for her to get recruited to join the New People’s army because her mother was a member of a front organization affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines.

One event that pushed her to take a major turn was the incident where an innocent, elderly person was killed.

“It was someone who hadn’t done us wrong but was harmed because they were ordered to do so. We were taught how to kill a person. We cannot decide for ourselves. It was at that very moment that I decided to cut ties, flee, and make things right,” Acak shared.

With the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), she was able to finish her Basic Military Training and even ranked 4th in her class.

“I am thankful that the Philippine Army accepted me readily under their scholarship program through E-CLIP and I was further given livelihood assistance in the amount of P50,000.00 through the help of the Province of Negros Occidental and the 303rd Infantry Brigade,” said Acak.

The E-CLIP is a program of the government that offers individual members of the CPP-NPA, the Militia ng Bayan, and members of violent extremist groups to help them start a new life.

Acak emotionally shares her past experiences while she was once part of the CPP-NPA. (Screen capture from Philippine Army Spearhead Troopers video)

Through the provision of various forms of assistance and interventions, E-CLIP envisions helping individuals transition from violence towards a peaceful existence in the arms of their family and their communities.

Like Acak, as she is now part of the Philippine Army and a member of the Local Country Team of the 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion, she advocates the dissemination of correct knowledge amid the continuous recruitment and misleading of the CPP-NPA.

“It is my advocacy to teach the youth and women with the correct information while it is still not too late so they will not be recruited nor misled by any groups,” she noted.

Acak undergoes Basic Military Training through the help of E-CLIP. (Screen capture from Philippine Army Spearhead Troopers video)
Results of Basic Military Training where Acak lands in rank 4th. (Screen capture from Philippine Army Spearhead Troopers video)

Acak likewise supported 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division Commander Major Gen. Marion R. Sison’s words, encouraging the remaining members of the communist terrorist groups to return to the folds of the law and avail of the E-CLIP, citing that the government has various programs for their rehabilitation and reintegration into mainstream society.

As she is now, apart from being a soldier, Acak is currently living freely and happily together with her own family.

Her story is indeed proof that returning to the government’s helm is a way to achieve a transformed life.

Embodying aspirations and hope like her, there may be more stories of rebels-turned-peacemakers unraveled, that may bring peace and comfort in every community through the government's E-CLIP. (AAL/AGP/PIA 6)

About the Author

April Grace Padilla

Information Officer II

Region 6

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