Thirteen former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who recently surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion (53IB) in Guipos, Zamboanga Del Sur received livelihood and cash assistance at the closing program of their Values Formation and Psycho-Social Activity on May 29, 2020.
(Photo: PIA Zamboanga Del Sur)
The simple ceremony was held at the Executive Function Hall of Zamboanga Del Sur Provincial Capitol Compound in Pagadian City.
The former rebels received P845,000 total cash assistance including P50,000 livelihood assistance and P15,000 cash assistance each. Each former rebel also received a sack of rice.
The livelihood and cash assistance are included in the benefits provided for former rebels under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
From left: DILG ZDS Provincial Director Moh. Taga Arakama (representing ZDS Gov. Victor Yu), 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, and ZDS Provincial Board Member Dang Mariano, hand over to one of 13 former NPA rebels during the closing program of Values Formation and Psycho-Social Activity on May 29, 2020. (Photo: PIA Zamboanga Del Sur)
The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Zamboanga Del Sur spearheaded the said Values Formation and Psycho-Social Activity.
The ceremonial turnover of assistance was attended by the Department of Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Moh. Taga Arakama and Provincial Board Member Dang Mariano, representing Gov. Victor Yu, the Chairperson of the Zamboanga Del Sur E-CLIP Committee.
Arakama expressed gratitude to the former rebels for choosing to lay down their arms and return to the government.
“We are very thankful that these former rebels chose to lay down their arms, be with their families, and avail of these programs by the government,” Arakama said.
Mariano reiterated Governor Yu’s goal of making the Province of Zamboanga del Sur clear of CPP-NPA terrorist influence.
“The current thrusts of our government aims to deliver basic services to the people and hopefully, or eventually, uproot communist insurgency,” Mariano said.
53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Co-Chairman of E-CLIP Committee in Zamboanga Del Sur, said: “The assistance will surely help the former rebels on their transition to mainstream society. “
Herrera said he is thankful to DILG, PSWDO, and the Provincial Government of Zamboanga del Sur for making the event possible.
“We hope that through this activity, our former rebels will be able to blend in with the mainstream society with confidence,” Herrera said.
“Now they know that we will take care of them, we also hope that more (NPA rebels) will surrender and return to the folds of the law,” Herrera said.
Col. Leonel Nicolas, Commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, commended the Provincial E-CLIP Committee for the smooth processing of the assistance for the former rebels.
“The continued active participation and collective contribution of the different stakeholders in this fight against the decades-long communist terrorism brought about by the Communist NPA Terrorists will pave the way for the further development of the province,” Nicolas said.
The Values Formation and Psycho-Social Activity program included lectures conducted by various agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture (DA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).