BUTUAN CITY – A former New People’s Army (NPA) amazon, who has been under the care of the military since May, has given birth to her first child at a hospital here last October 9.

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Shown in photo is “Ka Wena” with her first born baby boy given comfort by the officer of the 23rd Infantry Battalion at a hospital in Butuan City. (23rd IB-CMO/Mike U. Crismundo/Manila Bulletin)

Eighteen-year-old “Ka Wena had been three months pregnant when she was rescued by soldiers of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (23rd IB) last May 16 in Barangay Guinabsan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, according to 23rd IB Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer First Lt. Roel T. Maglalang.

With her then was another pregnant NPA amazon known only as “Ka Apay”.

And since then, the men and women of the 23rd IB have been taken care at their headquarters.

“Ka Wena” and “Ka Apay” stayed at the 23rd IB’s Masigasig Happy Home where they were assisted and monitored by the non-commissioned officers, especially during their prenatal, ultrasound, and other necessary activities to make sure that they will be able to safely deliver healthy babies. 

“The unit also made sure that they can avail of all the assistance and benefits offered by the government for the former rebels (FRs),” Maglalang said. 

“Ka Wena” thanked the government, especially the Provincial Social Welfare Development (PSWD) office, the provincial government of Agusan Norte, and the 23rd IB for the assistance they extended to her and “Ka Apay”.

She said she needed a peaceful and stress-free environment, and nutritious foods while she nurtured her baby.

She also recalled her ordeal while she was in the Communist movement.

“Lisod jud kayo and kinabuhi didto, walay tarong tulog ug lisod ang pagkaon” (Life there was very hard, sleepless nights and lack of food), she said. 

The father of Ka Wena’s baby, who was an NPA fighter, was killed in an encounter with the military.

Magalang said “Ka Wena” served as squad medic of SYP SIKOP, Guerrilla Front-4A of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) for nearly two years. 

She was lured and recruited by the NPA at the age of 16. 

She had big dreams, but realized that she could not finish her studies because of poverty. 

To pursue her dreams, she struggled to be a working student at the Buenavista National High School in Agusan del Norte. 

Unfortunately, she was easily lured to join the NPA because her father and her two other brothers were also active members of the armed group. 

“In other words, her entire family was ruined by the NPA by taking the most important foundation of their family, which was her father – the person who should guide, protect, take care and look after them while they grow,” Maglalang said. 

Meanwhile, 23rd IB commander Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo welcomed Ka Wena’s newborn baby. 

 “I am glad that another blessing enters inside our Battalion. While the NPAs are only good in destroying families, your army and the government will mend what the NPAs have broken especially the families,” the 23rd IB commander said. 

He said Ka Wena was one of the survivors in the encounter that transpired in Sitio Likudon, Barangay Kamanikan, Gingoog City, last May 10, 2020, wherein 15 NPA combatants were killed, alongside another pregnant NPA, a certain “Ka Nady”.

 “Indeed, coming back to the fold of the law is the most wonderful thing that former rebels can give to themselves,” Paulo said.

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