The first batch of former New People’s Army (NPA) members and supporters consisted of 217 individuals that were flown to Manila last February 06, 2018 morning to meet President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Public Information Officer Major Ezra Balagtey has confirmed that 217 surrenderers flew on board a C130 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force from the old airport in Sasa to Villamor Air Base.
These surrenderers, as part of their itinerary, will have a breakfast with Chief-of-Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) General Rey Leonardo Guerrero and a tour in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo (CGEA), the military headquarters in Quezon City.
The former rebels will also visit a farm in Bulacan. He said that there is no schedule yet for the 2nd and 3rd batch of former rebels to fly in Manila.
These former rebels were invited by the President to have dinner with him in Malacañang according to Colonel Ernesto Torres, 1003rd Infantry Brigade (IB) commander.
To convey the sincerity of the government to reach out to them and further encourage other rebels in the hinterland to lay down their arms and return to the mainstream society, the trip is all-expense paid.
Last December 21, Duterte met with 683 former rebels and supporters during the “Panaghuisa Para sa Kalinaw” (Unity for Peace) at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, Naval Station Felix Apolinario, Panacan, Davao City.
The former rebels participated in the Oath of Allegiance and witnessed the testimony from a former rebel presided by the President. They were also assisted in their enrollment to the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) where they are expected to receive P15,000 financial assistance, P50,000 for livelihood and additional remuneration on surrendered firearms depending on its type.
Torres had said that the first batch will be staying there from February 6 to 9. They will have educational tour in historical places such as in Intramuros in Manila and among others. These rebels surrendered in 2017 from the provinces of Agusan, Bukidnon, Surigao, Davao, Cotabato and Sarangani.