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14 underground group members say sorry to gov’t after renouncing link with communist rebels in Camarines Sur

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur (PIA) -- At least 14 underground mass organization (UGMO) members renounced their affiliation with the communist New People’s Army during a Serbisyo Caravan in Balatan town in the province of Camarines Sur last month. 

The former UGMO members burned effigies and the flag of the New People's Army (NPA) as a symbol of their denunciation.

The surrenderers included 53-year-old Nerman (name changed), a community leader in Barangay Camangahan. 

Nerman expressed both humility and pride as he announced that he was finally leaving the leftist organization that had taken “almost two decades of his life fighting a senseless battle.”

Tatay "Nesty" (not his real name), decided to leave the underground movement and returns to the folds of the law, Photo taken during the 81ist Infantry SPARTAN Battalion Serbisyo Caravan held February 16, 2024 at Barangay Camangahan, Balatan, Camarines Sur (Photo credits: DPAO, 81st IB)

Nerman apologized to the government and affirmed his decision to leave the people he once believed would lift him out of poverty.

“Ako po, naghahagad tawad sa gobyerno, nagkasala po talaga ako sa military po,” he pleaded.

(I am asking for forgiveness from the government because I have erred against the military.)

Nerman also urged his fellow villagers and cousins not to associate themselves with the organization he once belonged to, and to resist the temptation to be part of this front organization of the communist New People’s Army as it has yielded only negative outcomes.

To all the parents, he urged them not to emulate their actions and to avoid becoming part of the UGMO as they were exploited by the group.

He also pleaded with his child to return home and to approach any Army personnel in Balatan. 

“Ang aki ko, kung saen man po sya ngunyan, ako po nananawagan, mag igde sya samuya. Mag rani sya igde sa mga army sa Balatan,” Nerman pleaded. 

(My child, wherever you are, I am pleading for you to return. Please come home. You can approach any Army personnel here in Balatan.)

Nerman expressed his desire for a fresh start and wished to live peacefully with his family. 

Aside from the 14 UGMO members from his barangay, an additional 36 from Barangay Caorasan and 37 from Barangay Itangon, both located in the municipality of Bula, also pledged their allegiance to the government, bringing the total count of UGMO members who have disengaged from the communist insurgents to 87.

Marla (not her real name), a 28-year-old resident of Barangay Itangon, Bula, Camarines Sur, said she was recruited by the NPA when she was still single.

“Sumama po ako sa kanila, sa paniniwala ko po na mabuti ang kanilang intensyon sa akin. Noong nasa kanila na po ako, ginawa akong tagapagsulat, taga hawak ng pera ng organisasyon, at isinasama din po ako pag meron silang pinupulong na mga kabataan,” Marla said in an interview.

(I joined them, believing that they had good intentions. While I was with them, they made me their scribe and assigned me to handle the organization's finances. They would also invite mewhenever they have youth gatherings.)

28-year-old "Marla" was swayed to join the underground movemement but is now extending her appreciation to the Philippine Army by giving her another chance to start anew. "Marla " is among the 37 former Underground Mass Organization member who pledged allegiance to the government during the 81st Infantry SPARTAN Battalion Serbisyo Caravan held Feb 15,2024 at Brgy, Itangon, Bula, Camarines Sur. (Photo credits: 81st IB)

Marla recalled that she tried to return home multiple times, but the organization's members prevented her from leaving.

She eventually realized that she no longer enjoyed participating in their activities and simply wanted to return to her normal life.

“Kaya ang payo ko sa mga kabataan ngayon, wag po kayong maniwala sa gaya nila dahil wala pong magandang maidudulot sa inyo ang maling paniniwala nila," Marla said.

(My advice to the youth today is to not allow yourself to be swayed or convinced by the misguided beliefs of others.)

Lieutenant Colonel Julio Binuhhi, who is the commanding officer of the 81st Infantry Battalion, stated that 87 former UGMO members admitted to having been misled by the ideology propagated by the communist rebels. 

Members of underground mass organizations burn effigies and flag of the New People’s Army in Balatan, Camarines Sur.

To counteract the teachings of the subversive group, the 81st personnel invited the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to conduct a lecture about the government's initiative for individuals seeking to reintegrate into society. 

Binuhhi expressed his belief that the increasing number of former UGMO members pledging loyalty to the government indicates a gradual awakening among civilians in Camarines Sur who have been misled and exploited by terrorist groups. 

This suggests that they are ready to embrace a new beginning, he said. (PIA 5/Camarines Sur)

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Ana-liza Macatangay

Assistant Regional Head

Region 5

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