An 18-year-old former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Palawan is appealing to her father to lay down his arms and surrender to the government so he could rejoin them on Christmas Day.
Charlene Egay Juan, alias Ka Yumie, is calling on her father Ronaldo Juan, alias Ka Gaspar, to cease resistance to the government and submit to its authority so their family will be complete during the holidays.
Ronaldo has been a member of the NPA in Palawan for three years now under the unit of Ka Miggy and Ka Rise, the two rebel leaders who are wanted by the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC).
“Pang, sana bumaba ka na kasi wala kang mapapala d’yan. Mabubuo pa ang pamilya natin kapag bumaba ka, hindi ka rin sasaktan ng mga sundalo dito sa baba. Bumababa ka na, pang, para magkakasama tayo ngayong pasko,” Ka Yumie said.
“Sana bumaba na rin si papa para magkakasama na kami,” she added.
Yumie’s appeal to her father came after her surrender on November 15 with Reden Gatosan Angkik (Ka Justine, Jaguar, Jonas, and Arjay); Evelyn Eno Rodriguez, (Ka Laisa); Robin Jalain Baylosis (Ka Marlo and Mayor), and Jukiter Rundukan Gindaya (Ka Armak and Frankie).
They were supposed to bring his father with them when they surrendered, but she was unable to discuss the plan with Ronaldo because he was always with Ka Miggy and Ka Rise wherever they are.
“Gusto ko siya sana isama kaya lang hindi ko siya nadaanan kasi malapit siya kila Rise. Siya ang nagsabi sa akin na bumaba na kasi kawawa ang pamilya namin,” she said.
“Nakakahinga na ako ng maluwag ngayon dahil sa pagsuko ko, pero nag-aalala ako kasi naiwan ang tatay ko. Gusto ko sana na sumunod siya sa akin,” she added.
Ka Yumie said all she wants this holiday season is for them to be together with Daryl, her brother who previously surrendered to the Marines after an encounter on September 3 with its Force Reconnaissance Group (FRG) in Barangay Mainit, Brooke’s Point.
Daryl is a member of the Iskwad Buntot (Tres) Kilusang Larangang Guerilla (KLG)-Palawan, Sub-Regional Military Area (SRMA)-4E as a “mandirigma” and medical officer.
He was part of the encounter in Brooke’s Point but fled and eventually surrendered after his five leaders, including Bonifacio Magramo, and Andrea Rosal, daughter of NPA leader Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, were killed.
Ka Yumie said Ronaldo did not want her to join him and Daryl in the NPA, but they were unable to stop Ka Rise from recruiting her to become a full-time member.
“Kami ay dinadalaw lang ng tatay ko, siya kasi ay nasa loob ng NPA. Siya ang dahilan para sumali ako sa grupo, pagdating ko doon ay ni-recruit na ako ni Rise, sabi niya mag-full-time na daw ako. Gusto ko na umuwi noong panahon na yon, pero hindi niya ako pinayagan, hanggang sa sumali na talaga ako. Ang tatay ko naman ay galit kung bakit ako sumali. Ayaw ni papa na sumali ako,” she said during a press conference on Thursday at the Western Command (WESCOM) Headquarters.
“Sumuko kami dahil na rin sa matindihing hirap sa bundok, bagyo, lalo na kapag may operasyon ang mga tropa sa baba, lakad nang lakad na walang ginagawa. Iniisip ko kung ano pa nga ba ang gagawin namin kundi maglakad nang maglakad,” she said.
Ka Yumie said it was not the life she dreamed for herself, but she had no choice during the period she was recruited because she wanted to see Ronaldo. She was worried if he was in good physical health or suffering from an illness they do not know.
She said she also attempted to tell Ka Rise and Ka Miggy to surrender, however, this is not allowed in their group. They could even get punished if they as much as mention it to the NPA leaders in northern Palawan.
“Nagpaalam na ako dati na aalis na ako pero hindi kami pinapayagan. Sabi nila ito-torture daw kami ng mga sundalo. Hindi rin talaga nila kami papayagan, kaya tumakas kami,” she said.
“Naglakad lang kami halos isang buwan sa may Taytay at Roxas. Gabi kami umalis doon sa bundok. May dala rin kaming pagkain, ‘yong mga supply namin,” she said.
Captain Orchie Bobis, the spokesperson of the 3rd Marine Brigade, said they are willing to help Ronaldo in rejoining his family.
She said all Ronaldo has to do is to go to the nearest military camp where he is currently located.
“Tulad ng ginawa ng kanyang anak na bumaba at sumuko sa pinaka malapit na military detachment, ganoon na rin sana ang gawin niya at ng kanyang mga kasamahan para makapiling nila ang kanilang pamilya bago mag-pasko,” she said.
She said they are also willing to help the other rebels who will come forward and return to the folds of the law so they could go back to peaceful lives with their families.
Bobis said that if they are seeing uniformed soldiers in some areas, they are not for combat operations. They are there to help the government in relaying livelihood programs that could help the people.
“Lagi naman tayong bukas sa gustong magbagong-buhay. Kung may mga tropa na nandiyan sa mga areas ay hindi ‘yan for combat operation, kundi para ipaalam sa kanila kung ano ang mga programa ng pamahalaan,” Bobis said.