Insurgents lay down arms during ECG

MANY rebels and militia ng bayan came down from the mountains during the Enhanced Community  Quarantine (ECG) and their papers are now being processed for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)'s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

ECLIP is a program that gives qualified rebel returnees immediate financial assistance.

According to Secretary Eduardo Ano, the surrenderers could have realized that what they are fighting for is now a lost cause.

"Nung panahon ng ECG madami sa mga nasa bundok ay nagsibabaan dahil napag-isip-isip nila na wala nang kahihinatnan ang kanilang patay na adhikain," he said.

For the past three years, the DILG has already provided a total of P304.43 million in financial and other assistance to over 4,000 former rebels.

ECLIP provides each qualified surrenderer with immediate financial assistance of P15,000, livelihood assistance of P50,000 and reintegration assistance of P21,000.

Remuneration is also given for each surrendered firearms.  

“Kahit sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi tumigil ang pamahalaan sa pagyakag sa ating mga kapatid na naligaw ng landas na talikuran na ang kanilang maling ideolohiya at magbagong-buhay.  Patunay lamang ito ng tunay na pagmamalasakit at busilak na pagnanais ng pamahalaan na magkaroon ng kapayapaan,” the DILG chief said.

At the same time, Ano called on those still in the mountains to think again and join the mainstream society.

“Panahon na para bumaba na kayo at makipagtulungan kayo sa pamahalaan. Nakahanda kayong tulungan ng DILG,” he said.

Of the P304.43 million in total assistance, P58.845 million was in the form of immediate assistance to 3,923 former rebels (FRs).

A total of P121.250 million represents livelihood assistance to 2,426 FRs while P57.217million wasfirearms  remuneration for 858 FRs, and P67.116million was given as reintegration assistance to 3,196 FRs.

Of the 4,190 ECLIP beneficiaries as of May 31, 2020, 2,646 were regular members of the New People’s Army (NPA) while 1,544 were militia ng bayan.

The militia ng bayan are auxiliary members of the Communist Party of the Philippines who assist the NPA in planting bombs or ambushing government forces.

According to Ano, the government efforts to assist former rebels are heavily concentrated in Mindanao because the bulk of the NPA forces are in these areas.

Among those areas are Davao Region with 1,035 beneficiaries;  Northern Mindanao with 498 beneficiaries, Caraga with 496 beneficiaries; SOCSKSARGEN with 370 beneficiaries; and Zamboanga Peninsula with 159 beneficiaries.

Among the rebel surrenderers assisted by the Department through the ECLIP are Alyas “Cardo,” a 49-year-old  resident of Tubungan who was a high-ranking officer of NPA’s Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay and Fausto Musngi Daprosa, an NPA member of Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay.