BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Being former enemies of the country, serving in the Philippine Army was a great accomplishment for Private Vincent Dela Cruz of Barangay Daga, Cadiz, City, Negros Occidental and Private Jogie Siplao of Barangay Locotan, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.
Descended from former members of Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas-Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPM-P/RPA-ABB), a splinter faction of the New People‘s Army, the two former rebels are now government soldiers apart whole.
Pvts. Dela Cruz and Siplao, who recently completed their seven-month training, were former members of RPM-P/RPA-ABB in the 2nd district of Negros Occidental.
They are among 181 greenback soldiers who graduated from rigorous 7-month basic military training at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, on July 14.
On September 19, 2019, former President Rodrigo Duterte led the formal demilitarization of RPM-P/RPA-ABB veterans in Jamindan, Capiz.
Dela Cruz and Siplao belong to the special contingent of Candidate Soldiers ‘MAILAP’ Class 689-2021.
In a statement, Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the two former rebels-turned-army soldiers would inspire and motivate other young people within the NPA to return to the fold. of the law and to serve the country in a meaningful way. way.
“I am happy that these former members of the armed movement have finally realized that a better future awaits them (sic) outside the organization, and that makes a big difference,” Arevalo said.
Meanwhile, Ka Berber, a former New People’s Army squad leader, is now a regular member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographic Unit, according to Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, commander of the 94th Infantry Battalion. .
Almonte said Ka Berber, who was recruited to join the NPA at the age of 17, went to 94IB on August 23 last year after realizing the ideals they were being taught were different from what was happening on the ground.
While still a squad leader of an NPA unit in central Negros, Almonte recalled that Ka Berber featured in several armed skirmishes with 94IB and 62IB soldiers.*