VICTIM OF ABUSE. ‘Shane’ (not her real name), 17, a former New People’s Army child warrior, speaks to reporters during a press conference in Calubian, Leyte. The victim filed on Thursday (Oct. 29, 2020) a rape complaint against their former commander in the communist terrorist group before the prosecutor’s office. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Army)
MANILA – A former child warrior of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army CPP-(NPA) appealed for help from celebrities Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin to assist her with the rape charges she filed against the terrorist group.
“Kung handa kayong tumulong ay sana tuparin ninyo ang aking hiling, tulungan niyo ako sa aking kaso at hikayatin niyo ang mga kabataan at kababaihan na huwag nang sumuporta sa CPP-NPA-NDF (If you’re willing to help, please help me with my case and encourage the youth and women not to support the CPP-NPA-NDF), “ “Shane” (not her real name), from Hilongos, Leyte, wrote in a letter on Sunday.
Shane urged them to use their influence in informing the youth about the recruitment schemes employed by the terrorist group.
“Gamitin niyo sana ang inyong impluwensiya para magabayan ang mga kabataan at kababaihan kung ano nga ba ang mayroon sa CPP-NPA-NDF. Sabay nating itanggi ang pagsuportsa sa grupo ng mga NPA (Please use your influence to guide young people and the women and tell them what really is the CPP-NPA-NDF. Together let us denounce the NPA group),” Shane said in the open letter written in the vernacular, also addressed to Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago and Gabriela Women’s Party.
Last week, Shane, 17, accompanied by lawyers and Army officials, filed a rape complaint before the prosecutor’s office in Caluban, Leyte against Paterno Opo alias “Dodong”, commander of the NPA sub-regional committee operating in Leyte and Biliran provinces.
She said she suffered in the hands of their supposed superior when she was only 15 years old in the mountains of Calubian, Leyte in July 2018.
That incident, she said, haunts her until this time as she cries for justice.
‘You should fight for women, not rebels’
Shane, meanwhile, also accused Gabriela of supporting the CPP-NPA-NDF, and asked them why they are supporting rebels instead of fighting for women and children.
“Sa mga namumuno at miyembro ng Gabriela, hanggang kelan niyo lolokohin ang mga kabataan na pag-asa ng bayan? Wala kayong awa sa mga magulang na nawalan ng mga anak? (To the leaders and members of Gabriela, until when will you deceive the youth who are the hope of our nation? You have no mercy towards parents who lost their children),” she said.
“Sa mga miyembro ng Gabriela, ipakita ninyo dapat sa mga kabataan at mga kababaihan na kayo ay buong pusong tumutulong. Di ba ayaw ninyong may abusuhin na kababaihan? Bakit kayo sumusuporta sa teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF? (To Gabriela members, you should show the youth and women that you are truly helping them. Isn’t it that you are against any form of abuse towards women? Then why are you supporting the terrorist group CPP-NPA-NDF?),” she added.
Shane recently came out in the open with the horrible experiences she faced in the hands of the NPA.
She said she was recruited by the NPA with the promise that they would help her enroll and study in the Alternative Learning System (ALS).
She said she was only in Grade 2 at that time.
She said both her parents were NPA members and that they told her that the communist guerillas are good people.
“Gumaan ang aking loob sa kanila dahil noong una mabait ang tingin at ang ipinapakita nila sa akin at ang aking ama ay isang NPA dati, pero nagkamali pala ako, nabastos nila ako (They earned my trust because at first, they treated me and my father who was also a former NPA. But I was wrong, they disrespected me),” her letter reads.
Shane said after she was fetched by the rebels from their house and was brought directly to an NPA base in the mountain, much to her surprise because she thought she will be going to school.
At the NPA base, she was assigned to be a part of the medical team of the group.
After a year, she remained in the mountains serving as a medic and did not continue her studies.
Shane said was raped after that by an NPA commander.
“Dumating yung panahon na ako ay hinalay ng commander ng grupo namin na tinuring ko pang lolo ko. Binaboy nila ako, sobrang hirap ng pinaparanas nila sa akin sa bundok, doon din ako natututong magsinungaling. Pansarili lang ang iniisip ng mga NPA, wala silang awa sa mga kapwa miyembro (One day, I was raped by the commander of our group, whom I even considered as my grandfather. They abused me. They made my life in the mountains difficult. And then I learned to lie. The NPAs were only thinking about their concerns. They do not show any mercy towards their members),” she wrote.
Aside from Shane, her older sister “Ruffa” reportedly suffered the same fate in the hands the terrorist group.
Her sister got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl who was left to the care of a childless farmer couple who were members of the rebel group in a town in the northwest part of Leyte island.
Ruffa’s wish, Shane said, is to be reunited with her child who is now two years old.
Shane and Ruffa were able to escape when they were asked to collect food in a nearby community.
They voluntarily surrendered on June 12 to the officials of the Army’s 14th Infantry Battalion in Kananga, Leyte.
‘Use your influence’
Shane said the intelligence and vast influence of celebrities like Soberano and Locsin should not be wasted in supporting the wrong groups, and instead, use them to help women like her.
She raised the same call to Elago as well as Gabriela members, who all claim to fight for women and children’s’ rights.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)