TACLOBAN CITY – For a mother in Leyte, the grief seems unbearable as she mourns the death of her husband during a clash with soldiers, at the same time worries about the fate of her son hiding in the mountains running from the government forces.
Jocelyn Romadora, 48, a mother of 10, said life could have been better despite financial woes had no one in their family joined the senseless armed struggle of the New People’s Army (NPA).
In an interview with soldiers of 802nd Infantry Brigade on Wednesday, Jocelyn said she is afraid of what fate awaits her 26-year-old son, John, who joined the NPA with his father, Ambrosio, in 2019.
On Aug. 18, Ambrosio was one of the two NPA leaders killed in a clash with the military in the upland village of Lawgawan in Bontoc, Southern Leyte.
He was in a company of 11 other rebels belonging to the remnants of NPA’s Island Committee Levox, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee.
Villagers reported that John was one of the 11 rebels who engaged soldiers in the firefight.
The NPA fighters were hiding in the jungles of Bontoc as government forces intensified their combat operations in Leyte.
The military managed to locate the small NPA lair based on tips from villagers. The hideout is about 16 kilometers upland from Bontoc’s town center.
A soldier died and another was wounded during the hour-long gun battle.
“I am begging my son to come down from the mountains and surrender so he won’t die fighting like what happened to his father,” Jocelyn pleaded.
The widow recalled that Ambrosio joined the NPA after shooting a village official in 2018. He later joined the rebels with his son and completely left his family in January 2019.
Jocelyn repeatedly condemns the terroristic acts committed by her husband, but she said there is nothing she can do to turn back time.
“I never stopped longing for my son. I never saw him again since he joined the NPA more than two years ago. I am deeply hoping for him to surrender before death takes him,” she said.
The mother wrote a personal letter to her son, urging him to surrender and return home.
The Philippine Army believes that John has been hiding in the mountains of Mahaplag and nearby towns. They are optimistic that his family’s call and his father’s death will convince John to abandon the armed struggle.
Meanwhile, Ambrosio was laid to rest on Aug. 22, 2021 at the Mahaplag public cemetery.
Mahaplag Mayor Daisy Lleve disclosed that Ambrosio is a beneficiary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development's Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) Program for poor households and individuals.
The local government recently found that he has unclaimed cash aids. It will be released to the wife.
“Once John surrenders, the local government will assist him in claiming the assistance intended to the returning NPA based on the guidelines provided by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict,” Lleve said.
The local governments of Bontoc and Tomas Oppus in Southern Leyte, Hilongos in Leyte, and the Philippine Army have provided cash and goods to the Romadora family.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)