NEW CHAPTER. A former rebel shares the reasons for her and her 13 comrades' surrender inside the Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao headquarters in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday (July 15, 2022). One of the reasons cited was a secure future for their families. (Photo courtesy of PRO-10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Citing the future of her children and family, a communist rebel in Bukidnon has decided to surrender.

During a briefing on Friday, alias "Bertha" said she wants a life for her children without association with the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

"That is what we can give to them (children). We have not seen this before [how the government can help] but we are not going back [to the CPP-NPA-NDF]," Bertha said in the vernacular.

She said they were led to believe a "different perspective" toward the government, which is why they joined the communist group.

Bertha was one of the 14 former rebels presented at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 10 (Northern Mindanao) headquarters here.

Another former rebel, alias "Rose," said they thought the CPP-NPA-NDF had good intentions for the country.

"We thought we could achieve progress for our family and country [by joining the organization] but we were wrong," Rose said.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., PRO-10 director, said the 14 former rebels were part of the CPP-NPA's North Central Mindanao Regional Command operating in the eastern and western parts of Bukidnon.

"They are not combatants, based on our initial investigation. Most of them were recruited at a young age," Acorda said in an interview.

Manuel Orduña of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) 10 said the national peace framework of Executive Order (EO) 70 will continue under the new administration and the fresh mandate of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

He said NICA-10 fully supports government amnesty programs for former rebels.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte signed EO 70 in December 2018, creating the NTF-ELCAC that employs a whole-of-nation approach to end communism and institute peace-building initiatives.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.

BLOOD DRIVE. Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao chief Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. leadsa blood donation drive at their headquarters in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday (July 15, 2022). The activity was held in partnership with Northern Mindanao Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of PRO-10)

Blood donation

Meanwhile, PRO-10 collected on Friday 57,150 cubic cm. of blood during a bloodletting drive in partnership with the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center.

Acorda said of the 179 personnel from various PRO-10 offices, 70 percent or 127 personnel passed the screening.

"This might be a small act of kindness to somebody. However, to someone who will receive your blood, it gives them the chance to live. I hope that these bags of blood extend more life to the beneficiaries," he said, noting that the bloodletting activity is one of PRO-10’s best practices. (PNA)