Five former members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) recently received cash assistance from the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).
Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, commander of the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion, said three of the five beneficiaries are from Leon Postigo town while the other two are from Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Herrera said each of the five rebel returnees received PHP20,000 cash assistance from the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) in a program held at the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Capitol in Dipolog City July 21, 2020.
Gov. Roberto Uy, Zamboanga del Norte PTF-ELCAC and ECLIP committee chairperson, said the provincial government will remain active in assisting and supporting the former rebels’ reintegration into mainstream society.
Herrera thanked Uy for the “untiring support and commitment” of the province in helping former NPA rebels to reintegrate well in their respective communities.
Herrera said that in total, 22 former rebels–including those who surrendered to other units under the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade–also received the same cash assistance.
He said the former NPA combatants will also receive immediate cash assistance and livelihood assistance amounting to a total of PHP65,000 each as part of their benefits under the ECLIP.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.