2 young ex-rebels show guilt, decry NPA’s ‘terrorist’ acts
By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY
CALAPAN CITY – Two former members of the New People’s Army, both in their teens, showed remorse for being once “enemies of state” and decried in public the NPA and their former comrades in the underground movement for misleading them in joining as rebels.
In front of the estimated 800 college students inside the gymnasium of the Divine Word College of Calapan (DWCC) here, Agnes Reaño, 13, and Maricris Payongayong, 16, openly lambasted NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for being “anti-development” and wasting their (Reano and Payongayong’s) supposedly “precious time” for tasking them to do anti-government actions.
The testimonies of Reaño and Payongayong as being former rebels were the highlights of the “Symposium on Nationalism and National Security” held at DWCC gym in this city last Saturday, which was organized and sponsored by the said college’ authorities and the 203rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, headed by Brigade Commander Col. Carlos F. Quita.
The activity was held as joint program of DWCC and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with the aim of instilling to the youths of Oriental Mindoro the true meaning of nationalism, responsibility to the society towards achieving real change and development on every Filipino.
Answering queries and questions from students during the symposium’s open forum, Reaño and Payongayong, themselves are also former students, stated that their minds were somehow “poisoned” by leaders of the CPP and NPA in Mindoro into participating in many anti-government rallies and street protests, and worst, as members of the rebels’ armed propaganda unit, they were made to kill people whom they did not know.
Aside from the two former communist guerillas and Col. Quita, also acted as main guides and resource persons during the symposium included Army officials Col. Johnny L. Macanas and Capt. Greg De Guzman, DWCC President Fr. Anthony Ibarra B. Fabella, and Wendell S. Gaspan III, director of the school’s student affairs office.