Poverty is one of the common reasons why people join communist terrorist groups, as what was revealed by several former rebels. They wanted to help their families but as a result, were recruited by the Communist Party of the Philippines – National People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco shared that he was a former student leader who became a member of the CPP-NPA, who then returned to the folds of government. Now, he encourages the youth to avoid becoming victims of such recruitment.
He was recruited at the age of 16 due to his frustrations and financial needs and was made to believe that armed revolution is the way to solve the problems.
His experience is similar to other former rebels.
In earlier interviews via the Philippine Information Agency’s (PIA) Kapihan na Zamboanga, Alyas War-War shared the same experience. War-war had been with the CPP-NPA for 20 years, and shared that poverty was the main reason. Another reason why he joined was because his family was a victim of military abuse in the 80s. He was also convinced to join because he was taught that revolution is the only way to solve their problems.
“We believed that our role as a youth before is to join the armed revolution to solve our problem,” War-War said.
When War-War was in the uplands, he shared that he experienced hunger and he did not even know if he already kill a person with the countless encounters they had. He decided to surrender because he witnessed how the military welcomed them and provided them health care and shelter and he wanted to be with his family and children. However, his wife, who is also a member of the communist group, did not come with him when he surrendered. He hopes to be with his wife and children once again. “It is easy to join these groups but it is hard to leave once you decided to surrender,” he added.
Now, he believes that only the government can help them and solve their problems, same as Usec. Egco who now wants to impart learning and realization to the youth.
“The revolution, armed struggle will never work especially now that we are in this age of information revolution through social media and telecommunication,” he said.
Usec. Egco emphasized that there is always another way to solve problems other than through violence and advises the people who are still in the uplands to go back to their families.
“It’s never too late you can always go back,” he added. (Myra Cel Espinosa, PIA9-Zamboanga City)