Family of ex-rebs reunites, sets new beginning this Christmas

The first day of the Christmas season in Philippine Catholic Church is a day of another beginning for Rachel Galario, a former amazon of the New People’s Army. She and her former communist partner have been reunited and had their child christened on Sunday morning here.

Rachel’s partner, Allan Halop, has recently surrendered to the government and returned to the fold of the law.

Allan turned himself in to authorities a week after he escaped from his comrades last Nov. 21.

His team encountered the government troops several times, causing him and his comrades to get tired and starve.

He then realized that he wanted to live a normal life and that he wanted to see his partner and their daughter.

He sought the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the 91st Infantry (Sinagtala) Battalion.

He voluntarily divulged information on the location of their firearms and war materiel’s depot, resulting in numerous recoveries of the PNP and the Army.

Prior to this, Rachel was one of the female rebels, who were captured by the government. But she was able to apply for bail and sought refuge from the military for her and her daughter, who was only one month old at that time.

After few months of separation, this Sunday morning’s event was the first time for the two rebels to see each other and also the first time for Allan to see their daughter.

Incidentally, it was also the first time for Allan’s sister to see him after quite a long time.

The Army had exerted efforts to reunite the family. After 18 years of being separated, the siblings have finally held each other before the christening of Allan’s daughter.

As part of the Christmas celebration of the 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade under its commander, Colonel Rowen S. Tolentino, the unit organized the christening of the three-month old baby of the two former rebels.

The occasion was facilitated by Major Alexander Dawa, the Catholic Chaplain of 7ID. Tolentino, alongside Lieutenant General Macairog S. Alberto, commanding general of the Philippine Army and Major General Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division of the Philippine Army, stood as the godfathers of the baby girl.

A presentation of firearms recovered during the 2nd semester of 2018 was also conducted after the christening of the child.

The recoveries were conducted by the four battalions under 703rd Brigade – 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion, 69th Infantry (Cougar) Battalion, 84th Infantry (Victorious) Battalion, and 91st Infantry (Sinagtala) Battalion.

The firearms and war materiel were the results of the Community Support Programs (CSP) of the battalions.

The firearms and war materiel recovered were one squad automatic weapon, 22 assorted high-powered rifles, 11 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and a hand grenade.

Major General Felimon T. Santos Jr. expressed his delight on the reunion of the former rebels and the christening of their child.

“Finally, the surrenderers will celebrate Christmas as a family,” Santos said.

He also gave assurance to the former rebels that the Army will continue to keep them safe and secure and will provide assistance for their application for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Santos commended the efforts of the 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade.

He said it is an honor to have hardworking individuals under his command.

He also appealed to the media to help the Philippine Army disseminate matters regarding the E-CLIP and be an instrument for the surrender of rebels, who are still fighting the government. (PNA/Marilyn Galang)