38 Ex-NPAs in Northern Mindanao Join Phil Army; Graduate from ALS

MALAYBALAY CITY, September 13, 2019 – Alternative Learning System (ALS) focal person Rey Butch Mahinay of DepEd Region X led the awarding of ALS diploma to 38 former NPA rebels who were recently enlisted into the Philippine Army as soldiers. The graduation ceremony, arranged by DepEd Division of Schools in Malaybalay, was held at the 4th Division Training School (4DTS), Camp Osito Bahian, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

The 38 ALS graduates are former members of the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) of various ethnicity in Northern Mindanao and Caraga which include: Higaonon, Manobo, Talaandig, Banwaon, Umayamnon, Surigaonon, Mamanwa and Cebuano. 15 of them completed the elementary curriculum while 23 graduated the High School program.

The 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, in compliance to the order of President Duterte, trained and enlisted the former NPA rebels who surrendered to the government. To ensure that they would satisfy the academic requirement for soldiery, 4ID sought the assistance of DepEd Region X by enrolling them into the Alternative Learning System (ALS) program. In response, ALS instructors from DepEd held instructional sessions inside the military camp, even convening night classes to make sure the students would be able to take the Assessment and Evaluation (A&E) exam. The 38 graduates are among the 110 ALS students who passed the A&E. The rest will be taking the same exam soon as they become academically prepared.

“Ang NPA ang hinungdan nganong wala mi kahuman ug eskwela, sulod sa 20 kapin ka tuig nga pagpangalagad nako sa NPA ilang giguba ang among kaugmaon. Dako ang among pagpasalamat sa gobyerno ilabi na kang Tatay Digong nga gitagaan mi ug chance nga masugid ug bag-ong panginabuhian. Bisag 34 nako proud ko nga finally nakadawat nako sa akong diploma, akong bahandi nga dile na makawat nako” an emotional Marila Taquin said on her speech. Taquin is a former NPA Cadre, who’s sister was murdered by the NPA three days after giving birth.

“Mao sa ubang gahunahuna ug apil ug suporta sa NPA, ayaw na, wa moy kaugmaon ug ensakto nga panginabuhian ug dadto mo mag-uban sa mga terorista, tiwasa inyong eskwela, mabuhi tag malinawon kay dunay gobyerno nga galantaw sa atoa” added Taquin who is the only female member of the graduating class.

“Makita sila nga naka toga bisag edaron na sila, nakahilak gyud ko nga finally naabot nila ang edukasyon ug makadawat na silag diploma” said one of the relative of the graduates.

“Salamat nila maam Ronnamie, Merilyn ug Merlie nga grabe ug pasensya ug kakugi sa pag tudlo sa amoa, dile mapalit ang ako kalipay” said Jupiter Macrojon, who is the oldest graduate at 43.

Brigadier General Edgardo De Leon, Commander of Army’s 403rd Brigade in Bukidnon who delivered a message during the graduation ceremony said “habang ang nagrerecruit ng estudyante ang mga komunistang kadre sa mga eskwelahan, ang gobyerno naman ay patuloy na magliligtas sa mga naligaw ng landas upang maibalik sila sa paaralan at makapagtapos ng kanilang kurso. Ang inyong pagtatapos sa araw na ito ang magsisilbing pruweba na ang pangako ng Pangulo na bagong buhay para sa mga rebeldeng nag surrender ay may katotohanan.”

In his message to the FR-Soldiers, 4ID Commander Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal said: “Ang inyong pagsuko ay isang bagong simula. At ngayong araw ng inyong pagtatapos, hindi ko mapigilan ang aking lubos na pagkatuwa sa inyong tagumpay. Bilang inyong Division Commander, inaasahan ko na kayo ay magsisilbi ng tapat para itaguyod ang demokrasya at kapayapaan laban sa baluktot na prinsipyo ng mga komunistang NPA. Tumulong kayo sa paghikayat ng mga dati nyong kasamahan na magbalik-loob sa ating gobyerno para mamuhay ng mapayapa”.

Present also during the ceremony are representatives from the Provincial Local Government of Bukidnon, DepEd Bukidnon Division of Schools, ALS teachers and Implementers, media, family and friends of the graduates, and trainors from the 4th Division Training School.

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