MANILA, Philippines – As many as 199 former members of the rebel New People’s Army (NPA) pledged allegiance to the government and received financial aid in a ceremony at the capitol of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur this Wednesday.
Led by Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. the distribution of aid to former NPA rebels, including provincial governors and local officials of the region.
According to the report of the 199 NPA surrenderers who received assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), 169 were from Agusan del Sur; Surigao del Norte, 24; Agusan del Norte, four; Butuan City, two.
It was further learned that each former rebel received PHP15,000 as immediate aid, PHP50,000 as economic aid, and PHP21,000 for their integration with their families and communities.
The report said the surrenderees from Agusan del Sur also turned over 50 high-powered firearms and 13 short firearms paid for through E-CLIP, the value of which depends on the caliber of the firearms surrendered. .
Related to this in his message, Abalos welcomed the return to mainstream society of former rebels, even as he assured them of the government’s continued support for their recovery.
“The government, under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is ready to listen and respond to your needs. We assure you that you made the right decision to surrender and return to the government,” said Abalos.
He also told former rebels to always ensure the future of their families, especially children.
In a report on the ceremony, the DILG-Caraga (Region13) said the high number of NPA surrenders in the region is the result of an intensified nationwide strategy to end the local communist armed conflict.
The region, he said, received a total of P3.8 billion in projects under the Barangay Development Program (BDP) last year.
Out of the total BDP budget, P720 million was allocated to Agusan del Sur consisting of 69 projects, nine of which were completed this year.
Since 2018, DILG-13 said that 1,465 former rebels have availed financial and livelihood support from the E-CLIP program worth PHP133 million. Santi Celario
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