Asuncion, DDN – After almost a year since the Compostela Valley Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office took her in, Daisy (not her real name), now 17 years old, is ready to go back to her family. Under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), Daisy received her full livelihood assistance Tuesday last week and thereafter was brought home to rejoin her family.
Daisy, a former Medic of the CPP-NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command 4 (PBC 4), Sub- regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee, surrendered to the 60th Infantry (Mediator) Battalion on April 30, 2018, just a day after her group encountered the same government troops in Brgy Naga, Laak, Compostela Valley Province.
In her custodial interview, Daisy revealed that before joining PBC 4 sometime in 2018, she was already serving Guerrilla Front 33 of the same sub-regional committee also as a full-time member. She said she was recruited by a certain alias “Doy” (who also goes by the alias “Yade”) in 2017, recalling that it was her own mother who decided she must join the CPP-NPA full-time. Daisy’s mother was then a Militia ng
Bayan member under the Guerilla Front 33.
“I was a student then (before joining the CPP-NPA),” Daisy further recalls, “my father died when I was still little, and my mother left us when I was only 11 years old. I later learned that she was with the ‘movement’ [CPP-NPA] or was helping them somehow, though to what extent I never realized until she ‘sold me off’ herself to be indoctrinated with their communist ideology and also trained to fight [government]
soldiers with bombs and guns,” Daisy narrated in the vernacular.
At only 16 years old, Daisy experienced her first armed encounter against government troops on December 2017 in Montevista town, CVP. Still a ‘scared newbie’ with a bare three months of training since joining the armed terrorist group, “It was scary. I will never forget it,” Daisy said.
Daisy went on to experience two more armed encounters afterwards; one on March 2018 and another on April 2018.
Daisy and her buddy alias Fe (also a minor at 16 years old) saw the opportunity to escape from their CPP-NPA cadres after their group was separated while going against government troops in Montevista town on March 2018. Their attempt, however, failed, after PBC 4 under Rodel Ogong alias Vlady/Tol, caught up on them and forced them to join their group.
Daisy’s second chance came after being involved in another firefight against government troops on April 2018 in Laak town, CVP. This time, Daisy went straight to the government troops, declaring her voluntary surrender. Daisy was immediately brought to the hospital for medical check-up and later, being a minor, was taken by the local social welfare and development office for debriefing and for other appropriate psycho social intervention.
A year after her surrender, Daisy still remembers the hardships she endured by the CPP-NPA “like they were only yesterday.” But a strong-willed child, Daisy says she has never felt ever sure of her future like she does today. Revealing further that at least four (4) others of her former comrades in GF 33 and PBC 4 were also minors aged 16 to 17, Daisy adds, “I only pray that those other ‘kids’ who were with me [with
the CPP-NPA] back then will also find a way to escape. They don’t like it there. No one really does.”
Daisy is now with her relatives and will be continuously monitored by government assigned social workers on her progress. She plans to go back to school this coming academic year 2019-2020.
CPP-NPA legal fronts have been denying allegations that minors are being recruited to join the Party and its armed wing, the NPA. But as revealed by the former rebels themselves, the CPP-NPA deliberately recruits and organizes vulnerable sectors such as the youth and indigenous peoples whom they can use not only for their propaganda but also in their terroristic acts. Some FRs even attest that this is what the Salugpongan schools are for; a recruitment hub for strong, able-bodied youths who can further the CPP-NPA’s terroristic cause.
In 60IB’s Area of Operations alone, 8 out of 10 former rebels are indigenous peoples while 4 out of 10 are youths. Records also show that many of the former rebels were recruited when they were still of minor age.