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Second Chances and Family Ties

Ex-NPA Rebels Choose a New Path

Deep in the jungles of Negros Oriental, a story of reconciliation is unfolding. Three former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) have laid down arms and emerged from the shadows, motivated by a powerful yearning to reunite with their families.

One of the rebels, known by the alias Ensoy/Renzo, cradled a dream of fatherhood. His wife, “Maine,” a former NPA member herself, had recently given birth at a local hospital. Another couple, “Clifford” and “Aubrey,” both with NPA pasts, yearned to build a life together.

These powerful family bonds proved more vital than the ideology that once bound them. The wives, who had surrendered in late 2023 and early 2024, used social media as a bridge, their pleas reaching their husbands deep in the rebel ranks.

Lieutenant Bernadith Campeon, acting head of Civil-Military Operations for the Philippine Army’s 11th Infantry Battalion, played a crucial role. She revealed that the wives’ persistent appeals ultimately convinced their husbands to lay down their arms.

The surrender wasn’t empty-handed. Ensoy/Renzo turned in his M-16 rifle and ammunition while Clifford surrendered a handgun. Now, after debriefing, they stand at a crossroads. The Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, led by Governor Manuel Sagarbarria, is helping them integrate into society.

The government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) offers them a lifeline. This program provides financial aid, livelihood opportunities, and even housing assistance to former rebels who choose a peaceful path.

This story serves as a beacon of hope in a region grappling with insurgency. It highlights the transformative power of family and the government’s efforts to reintegrate those who choose to leave the armed struggle behind. As these former rebels embark on their new lives, their story offers a compelling message – that second chances are possible, and sometimes, the most potent weapon is the love for one’s family

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