Former child combatant yields to military after 14 years of fighting
by Erwin T. Fernandez
ASUNCION, Davao del Norte (20 September) -- A former child combatant at the age of 7, Raymond Lupe-Subla a.k.a. "Kumander Alvin", now 21 years old, lay down his arms after 14 years of fighting the government.
Subla is a squad leader of Ave team guerilla unit of Front Committee 34 under Maximo Catarata aka Datu Makatindog of NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Committee operating in areas along the boundaries of Laak in Compostela Valley and in the municipality of Loreto in Agusan del Sur.
Subla surrendered last Monday to the Charlie Company under 1st Lt. Ricky Mercado of the 60th IB in Barangay Bugdangan, Laak, Compostela Valley Province.
He handed over to the military several high powered firearms including an M60 machine gun with live bullets, one M16 armalite rifle, a rocket propelled grenade (RPG), ammunition from 40mm grenade launcher, improvised Claymor mine, medical paraphernalia and subversive documents.
Among the other yielded materials are 2 military uniform with insignias of the Magdalo Group attach to its sleeves and a police uniform believed taken by the rebel during a raid in a police station in Loreto, Agusan del Sur last December 2005.
Subla was presented by the military to the media yesterday at the 60th IB headquarters in Don Andrea Asuncion, Davao del Norte.
Asked why he returned to the mainstream society, Subla narrated that "dili nako kasabot sa pamala-od sa kalihukan." He could not understand anymore the law system of the group.
He further added that he had observed unfair treatments of lumad from the non-lumad members by their commanders.
"Gigamit lang nila ang mga lumad, maoy ilang sugo-sugo-on aron mangolekta ug kwarta nganha sa mga negosyante." Lumads are being used to do dirty work such as extorting money from businesses.
Subla hoped that with his surrender, the government will help him in starting a new life. He said that he wanted to have a motorcycle for his livelihood and also likes to join the military someday.
Lt. Colonel Perfecto M. Rimando commanding Officer of the 60th IB, 10 ID said that Mr. Subla can avail of the Balik Baril Program of the Department of National Defense while livelihood assistance might be extended to him by the local government units (LGUs) or the DILG.
He added that they will look at the request of the rebel leader who wanted to join the military.
Col. Rimando said, he was elated for this significant achievement by his men and the battalion itself since Mr. Subla was a rebel leader and brought with him several high powered firearms.
He added that their focus now is to neutralized the remaining members of the front committee 34 and the 3 other front committees namely the FC 33, 35 and 3 within his area of responsibility.
On the other hand, Task Force Raptor Commanding Officer Col. Emiliano R. Gapuna congratulated Col. Rimando and his men for a well done job. The Army's 60th IB was under the command of the Task Force Raptor based in Mankilam, Tagum City.
Col. Gapuna said that he is expecting more rebels to surrender for he believes that there is demoralization among the ranks of the rebels due to the capture of Jose Maria Sison of the NPA-NDF in the Netherlands.
He strongly believed that the government can eradicate the communist insurgency by 2010 which was set by president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as a deadline before she steps down in office. (PIA XI) [top]