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“Beware the armed men who seek your help to carry their things. If you do, you may never be able to return home to your family.” Speaking in their native Isneg dialect, three (3) among five(5) young men from Pudtol, Apayao appealed to their town mates to avoid being fooled by the New Peoples Army terrorists.

The three victims of the NPA’s deceptive recruitment sought the help of Hon. Fontanilla Melad, Barangay Captain of Malibang, Pudtol, Apayao in surrendering to authorities last July 4, 2018 while another two voluntarily surrendered without firearm to authorities on July 7, 2018 at about 8:40PM. The five surrenderees were identified as: Batara Aridao Telan, alias Ka El, 22 years old, single, farmer, grade 3 level; Jaylord Baligat Isao, 21 years old, single, farmer, grade 3 level; Gilbert Alday Sadem, 18 years old elementary graduate, single, farmer; Elvin Ducrao Pablo @ “Ka Sagana”, 24, single, farmer, grade 10 level; and Alvin  Bantoc Santiago aka “Ka El”, 20, single, farmer, elementary graduate, and all are residents of Malibang, Pudtol, Apayao. All are currently in custody of the Pudtol Municipal Police Station under Acting COP PSI Januario B. Palayon,

Initial interviews show that they were either working in the fields or cutting wood in the forests or fishing in the river when approached by armed men seeking their help to carry sacks of rice to Paco Valley. Being naturally willing to help anyone in need, they stopped their chores and helped in carrying the food items to the NPA camp. However, they found themselves not allowed to leave but were forced to undergo rudimentary training while being threatened not to disclose to anybody about the NPA activities. Jaylord Isao and Gilbert Sadem Batara Telan escaped after a month, but Batara Telan was only able to leave the terrorist organization after the NPA encountered operating Philippine Army troops. Due to the incident, he became fearful for his life and contacted Barangay Captain Melad. The other two also turned themselves in to clear themselves.

Elvin Pablo also revealed that they were fishing sometime on May 30, 2018 at the Tawit River when a group of malefactors approached and told to them that they will return for them the next day at the same place of which they did but this time, they were armed with long firearms. They recruited them for martial arts training. They then proceeded at Aggan, Bulu, Kabugao, Apayao, their training ground. Indeed they were trained for five days under the leadership of a certain Ka Arnold. On June 6, 2018 they asked permission to go home but did not return until they decided to surrender.

Once again the New Peoples Army’s desperation to replenish its dwindling ranks in the Cordillera Region has led them to deceive and exploit the lowly-educated residents of far-flung sitios. This latest incident is another example of the NPA’s deterioration into criminal terrorism. A female minor recruited in Mountain Province surrendered last May 2018, and detailed sexual abuse and corruption in their ranks.

PROCOR leadership is appealing to the public to be extra vigilant and responsive by providing information on enemy location and their movements so that government forces can swiftly act on the threat. “With our collective efforts, we can make a difference in securing our people from any terror acts. That is the Filipino spirit of bayanihan”, PCSUPT Rolando Z Nana said.