Some 72 rebel returnees and former supporters of the terrorist group Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) from Umingan town have received farm machinery, financial assistance, and scholarship grant on livelihood programs, among others.
The Police Ilocos Regional Office (PRO-1) said in a statement on August 13, 2002, the rebel returnees and supporters got two units of hand tractors, water pumps, and 20 backpacks of farm liquid sprayer; 20 trays of assorted vegetables; pasteurized milk and 30 sacks of rice; livelihood provisions such as fertilizers, tilapia fingerlings, hybrid seeds, and fruit-bearing trees; and personal protective equipment from the Department of Agriculture and the provincial government of Pangasinan.
They also received financial aid on top of the scholarship grants on livelihood programs through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance Inc.) membership, and other privileges.
It added the returnees and supporters were formed into two groups, namely the Carayungan South Farmers Association and South Farmers Association.
“As patriotic Filipino citizens, let us be reminded that unity and peace among citizens is the way towards a progressive nation. I believe that peace will remain if we are united and helping the government. Use this opportunity to have a new life, working, and abiding by the law,” Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr., PRO-1 regional director, told rebel returnees during the Oplan Panagsubli program held here on Wednesday.
Oplan Panagsubli is an initiative of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office through the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) that aims to identify, account, and convince all national terrorists and their supporters to surrender to the government.
The first batch of rebel returnees under Oplan Panagsubli was welcomed in a program in November last year. (Hilda Austria, PNA)