Eleven more former rebels and Militia ng Bayan members committed on Wednesday to serve the country, taking their oath of allegiance during a ceremony here.
"Maya" (not her real name) said she decided to avail of the government's offer of a new life for the sake of her six children--aged 14, 13, 9, 6, 3--whom she hopes would all finish their studies.
"Our life was difficult, do not want my children to have the same life, I want them to be successful in life, Maya said in the Ilocano dialect.
Maya and the 10 others were among those who separately surrendered to the government since November 2019 but joined part of the mass oath-taking.
Maya joined the rebel group in 2002 after she was convinced by the New People's Army (NPA) rebels who camped for a week at their home in one of the towns in Mountain Province.
Three years with the group, she found a husband among the members in 2005 and gave birth to her firstborn a year after.
Maya, who was as a medical officer of the NPA group in the area, described the life of an NPA combatant as "narigat" (difficult) without any certainty of the future.
"I learned how to be one [of the medical officer] while I was in the mountains. we were taught by someone who comes to where we camped how to do 'accupress'. There are a lot of us who know how to do it and its what we use to help combatants who are injured members," Maya said.
She also said there are times when they had to join the NPA combatants in fighting the government troops.
"Agkararag ka lattan tapnu saan ka nga madangran. Kabutbuteng ngem isu garud parte ti biag nga pinili mi (Just pray so that you won't get hurt. it was scary but it was part of the life I chose)," she said.
Maya and other surrenderers will receive immediate assistance of PHP15,000.
They will be validated and processed while a series of reorientation will be done as part of their re-embracing of their allegiance or commitment to support the government.
As a rebel returnee, Maya will be asked to help convince other NPA rebels and supporters to surrender.
The firearm she surrendered will also be assessed of the value and the amount will form part of the money she will use in starting a life.
Aside from PHP65,000 livelihood assistance, the rebel returnees will be provided a decent home and her children who would be given an education.
"Come down and have a life. The government is here to help us start a peaceful life, come, Maya said in the vernacular
Source: Philippines News Agency