AN ALLEGED communist rebel who claimed to have escaped from UCCP Haran Center in Davao and has joined a nationwide march of indigenous peoples (IP) called “Manilakbayan” surrendered to authorities on Sunday.
Captain Jery Lamosao, public affairs chief of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, said the surrenderee was identified as alias Kardo.
In a statement, Lamosao said, alias Kardo surfaced and confessed to them that he joined the Manilakbayan. Manilakbayan is coined from Filipino word “lakbay” which means walk with the lumads or the IPs. The activity travels from Manila to Mindanao in a caravan.
Early 2015, different lumad tribes evacuated their communities and stayed at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines compound (UCCP Haran) after complaining of the military’s presence in their areas.
Lamosao said alias Kardo surrendered on March 11 at 3 p.m. at the 71st IB Headquarters, at Purok 8, Barangay Nueva Visayas, Mawab, Compostela Valley Province.
He added that alias Kardo is a former team leader of Squad 3, Front Guerilla Unit/Sentro de Grabidad of the New People’s Army (NPA) in 2015.
He further claimed that he was 16 years old when he was recruited to join the NPA as a combatant.
Alias Kardo also told the military that he had been involved in different harassments and ambuscades against the troops of 71st IB and 46th IB, which resulted to the death of one officer and two enlisted personnel in Mabini and Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province last 2014 to 2016.
The statement also said that alias Kardo was designated as marshal of Manilakbayan and was tasked to guard the more than 100 IP evacuees from Talaingod, Davao del Norte and Agusan del Norte seeking temporary shelter at Haran. Among them were 40 IP children.
“According to a.k.a. Kardo, the people inside Haran are only victims of brainwash and propaganda activity of the political instructors (PI) of the NPA. They were forced to vacate their home and were promised by the (organizers of) Manilakbayan their food and needs if they will be staying in Haran. While in Haran, the promise of providing everything for them lasted only for two months,” Lamosao said.
Lieutenant Colonel Esteveyn Ducusin, 71st IB commander, expressed his gratitude as mass surrender to his battalion continues.
Ducusin said that the battalion will continue its coordination and partnership with local government units (LGUs) and local government agencies (LGAs) for legal actions against the personalities involved in illegal detention of 100 “bakwits” in UCCP Haran.
He also cited that the current programs of the government for rebel returnees encouraged Kardo and other former rebels to go back to the mainstream society and live peaceful lives.
“The continued mass surrender to our unit is an indication that the masses are now much aware of the different government’s program such as the President’s Build, Build, Build and Job, Job, Job Program which creates more infrastructure and job opportunities for the people, free access to PhilHealth and free education for all,” Ducusin said.
Major General Noel S. Clement, 10th ID commander, lauded the unit’s accomplishment and said that with the revelation of Kardo on the activities inside UCCP Haran in Davao City, he is pinning his hope that the Lumads will be freed.
He also warned people or groups supporting the communist insurgents of legal consequences they will be facing.
“People found to be guilty of supporting the CPP-NPA terrorists and violating human rights shall be penalized under our existing laws. 10ID forces will suppress the enemy of the state who continues their atrocities against innocent people but we are always open to those who want to lay down their arms and be back to the mainstream of the government,” Clement added.