By Julius Mariveles and Hannah Papasin
94IB HQ, Barangay Tambo, Ayungon – The death of a brother spurred Alex to join the armed movement.
Wiry, with a swarthy complexion and looking a lot younger than his 36 years, Alex recalls receiving news that his brother had been killed by the New People’s Army.
“I wanted to know who killed him,” he tells DNX in a mixture of Hiligaynon, and Bisaya.
And join he did. He was, according to him, assured that he would finally know who killed his brother and why.
Much to his disappointment, he never got to know the identity of his brother’s killer.
This despite spending a good two years fighting alongside NPA guerrillas, living a life of uncertainty and danger.
The only upside was his meeting his now wife Yass, with whom he developed a whirlwind romance that bore them a bundle of joy.
His family and a promise of a good life for them is what spurred Alex to finally quit.
Yass, his wife, couldn’t be happier.
Yass herself has been approached by legal youth organizations to join since she was in junior high school, but her parents would not let her.
“Looking back, I can say my parents did the right thing in not letting me join. I have since refused their repeated attempts to recruit me, now that my family is intact,” she tells DNX.
Engelbert, on the other hand, was promised a better life by the movement that recruited him.
“They told me they’d take care of my family if I join,” he tells DNX.
Slight and wispy and looking much younger than his 24 years, Engelbert was lured in by honeyed words. They will fix his house, they said, and take care of his family’s basic needs, including a job for his brother.
None of this actually happened.
He was fed the same line that the Left has been feeding its members and recruits: that there’s a need to bring down an oppressive capitalist system that exploits the masses. And the only way to do that is to wage a proletarian revolution so that a just system will prevail.
He was promised justness, fairness. He saw none of these when he joined the armed movement.
What he saw was corruption among the officers, and he saw unequal treatment within the ranks of an organization that boasts of equality.
But it was the broken promises that did it for him.
That and the small family he formed with his sweetheart Regine, herself recruited by the cultural group.
“I merely joined because I had been promised to make full use of my dancing skills,” she tells DNX. Her involvement was not as deep as that of Engelbert though so it was easy for her to leave the Leftist organization when the time comes.
There were no regrets since.
There was no turning back. For them, they are not just home. They are coming back home after years of being on the wrong path.