Ending Insurgency

SIMPLE GIFT-GIVING: Matapat Ladies Express Love for Former Rebels

The Christmas season has brought a reason for the Matapat Ladies of the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) to express their love and affection to fellow-Filipinos particularly to former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who recently surrendered to the government.

The Matapat Ladies, an organization composed of wives of soldiers who are stationed at 53IB Headquarters at Camp Maj. David P. Sabido in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur, distributed gifts to the former rebels in a simple program at the battalion’s Halfway House on December 29, 2020.

“This gift-giving activity is an opportunity for us to send and show our love to former rebels,” said Matapat Ladies leader Mrs. Cecil Crusio, wife of 53IB officer TSgt Julie Crusio.

Mrs. Crusio said the gift-giving activity is one of the many ways they could show that they are bonded to support their soldier husbands in their efforts to help former rebels.

“We initiated this simple gift-giving activity for the former rebels as a symbol of joy for Christmas and hope for the coming New Year,” Mrs. Crusio said. 

Mrs. Teresa Herrera, wife of 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, said the gift-giving activity demonstrates that they are caring for former rebels. “After all the hardships that they have gone through in the mountains, we would like to show that we care for them,” she said.

“No matter how simple our gifts are, we are honored to conduct this kind of activity. We are happy to give them little things that can help them in starting anew.” Mrs. Herrera said.

In return, the former rebels expressed their heartfelt message to the Matapat Ladies.

Lyca, a former female NPA rebel, said she was grateful to see the Matapat Ladies’ concern for them. “I am very thankful for the soldiers’ wives for this activity. We felt their love and support not just from the military but also from all the people here,” she said.

Another former rebel said that she did not expect the affectionate acceptance of soldiers and their wives. “All along, we did not expect that we would be treated kindly by the military. What more could we expect from their wives? We are very grateful for all their love and concern for us,” she said.

The Matapat Ladies hosted a hearty meal after the program in honor of the former rebels.

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