SOME 38 former rebels became graduates of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) as part of the process that will make them official members of the Philippine Army.
The 38 ALS graduates are former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) of various ethnicity in Northern Mindanao and Caraga region which include: Higaonon, Manobo, Talaandig, Banwaon, Umayamnon, Surigaonon, Mamanwa, and Cebuano.
At least fifteen of them have completed the elementary curriculum while 23 others have graduated from the High School program.
Captain Ryan Layug, 403rd Brigade spokesperson, said the returnees need to get a diploma to be accepted.
“To ensure that they would satisfy the academic requirement for soldiery, 4ID sought the assistance of DepEd Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) by enrolling them into the ALS program,” Layug said.
Brigadier General Edgardo De Leon, Commander of Army’s 403rd Brigade in Bukidnon, vowed to help rebel returnees to get a second chance at life.
Major General Franco Nemesio Gacal, 4th Infantry Division (4ID) commander, meanwhile urged the newly graduates to invite more rebels to surrender.
“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,” he said.