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Surrendered communist armed men hope to rebuild lives

By Rosalita Manlangit


DAET, Camarines Norte --- Boboy and Remo (not their real names) lived like owls when they were still part of the “Militia ng Bayan” in this province.


Boboy struggled as a militia member whose task was to augment the main forces of the New People’s Army (NPA), where his grandfather was a member.


Boboy started getting involved with the communist movement when he was just 11 years old.


He acted as a messenger or runner for the insurgents. He would make his move at night, crawling deep in the woods to avoid detection by soldiers on patrol.


Boboy served as a communist militiaman for over 30 years, occasionally reinforcing the NPA during armed clashes with government troops.


“Sumuko po ako dahil nabigo silang tumupad sa kanilang mga pangako at ang mahigit 30 taon ko sa grupo ay hindi nagbunga ng positibong resulta,” Boboy, now 49, said.


(I gave up because they failed to deliver on their promises and my over 30 years in the group yielded no positive results.)


Remo, on the other hand, switched sides after realizing the insurgents' ideology was brutal and God-less..


“Nagbago ang pananaw ko sa mundo. Napagtanto ko na ang ideolohiya ng inaniban kong grupo ay mababaw at may depekto,” Remo, 43, said.


(My perspective on the world has shifted. I realized that the communist ideology of the group that I joined was superficial and flawed.)


After a life of rebellion left them exhausted, Boboy and Remo surrendered to authorities last year.


"Pangarap kong buuin muli ang buhay ko (I dream of rebuilding my life)," Boboy told Editha Lee, the social worker who recorded the personal profiles of former rebels.


Boboy and Remo now earn a livelihood by producing and selling "walis tambo" or brooms, in the town of San Lorenzo Ruiz.


The pair used the government's financial aid given upon their surrender as their initial capital.


Boboy and Remo were provided with a package of assistance which included P15,000 in cash from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, P10,000 in cash from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and P9,700 in cash from the provincial government of Camarines Norte.


Moreover, the Technical Skills Development Authority will offer them training on how to manage other enterprises. If they complete the training, the Department of Labor and Employment will provide them with a starter kit.


“I am now able to provide for my beloved wife and children who excel in school,” Boboy said. (PIA 5/Camarines Norte)


A former communist militiaman receives a check for P15,000 from Camarines Norte Gov. Ricarte Padilla during a joint meeting of Provincial Peace and Order Council and Provincial Task Force on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.


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