DAVAO CITY – Some 45 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have received PHP1.7 million in cash assistance early this week as part of the government’s efforts to help them start a new life and become productive members of society.
A statement from the 1001st Infantry Brigade on Wednesday said the ceremony was held last Monday at the provincial capitol, where the former rebels (FRs) also pledged allegiance to the government and support to its endeavors toward attaining a just and lasting peace not only in Davao de Oro but in the whole nation as well.
The cash aid, handed over by Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy, was under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the national government for former communist terrorist group (CTG) members who choose to return to the fold of the law and live normally and peacefully with their respective families.
The FRs granted the assistance included 29 from the Militia ng Bayan who received PHP15,000 each, 15 regular NPA rebels who received PHP65,000 each, and one FR who got PHP345,000 as remuneration for the firearms he surrendered.
“The assistance they received from the government is just a part of the package intended for them. Apart from it, they have also undergone basic skills and livelihood training that will surely help them live better lives as they reintegrate into the mainstream society,” said Brig. Gen. Luis Rex Bergante, commander of the 1001st Infantry Brigade.
He is optimistic of an impending end to the local communist armed movement due to the active participation of various stakeholders in the government’s efforts.
Bergante also encouraged the FR beneficiaries to help their former comrades who are still waging a futile struggle to surrender and return to the fold of the law.
“What you received today, is one of your opportunities to start a new life. I encourage you to be the mouthpiece of the government program to help your former comrades to surrender,” he said.
Bergante encouraged members of the CTGs to take advantage of the ECLIP, while it is being offered by the government.
“This proves that the government is sincere in its mandate to look after the welfare of its people. This further proves that collaboration and coordination amongst the stakeholders, the Whole-of-Nation and the Whole-of-Government approach are effective tools in ending the local communist armed conflict,” he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
By Che Palicte