79 rebel returnees get P4.5-M cash grant in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9, 2019): 79 rebel returnees get P4.5-M cash grant in Bukidnon

CASH INCENTIVES. Officers of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade assist officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government in distributing cash grants to 79 former communist rebels in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, on Friday (Nov. 8, 2019). The former rebels will also receive livelihood training and educational assistance from the government. (Photo courtesy of 403Bde)

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon — A total of 79 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) received some PHP4.5 million in cash incentives here Friday.

The cash grants were part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), which provides former rebels with immediate cash assistance, livelihood assistance, and firearms remuneration.

Aside from the cash assistance, the 79 former rebels went through a series of psychosocial interventions as part of the process for their mainstreaming and reintegration to the community, said Brig. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade (403Bde)

“These FRs (former rebels) are victims of circumstances and exploitation by the local communist whose desire is to grab political power at the expense of our indigent brothers and sisters. The local communist leaders deprived our people of the opportunity to improve their lives,” de Leon said in a press release issued on Friday.

He said the “exploited youths” could have finished school, found jobs, and spent time with their families.

“They were taught by NPA cadres to lie and cheat, that they even lie when asked of their names. They were taught to defy their parents so it would be easy for them to defy and rebel against the government,” de Leon added.

He noted that the former rebels were promised an allowance of PHP5,000 per month, a sack of rice, and parcels of land by the rebels.

The surrenderers, he said, “realized that they were just fooled.”

De Leon said the former rebels would be provided with basic education and technical and vocational training by the Department of Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Department of Labor and Employment.

Northern Mindanao ranked fourth in the country with the highest number of ECLIP beneficiaries, he said.

Assistant regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Yvette Sunga, however, warned the former rebels that they would not be entitled to ECLIP benefits again should they rejoin the communist rebel movement.

“Those who are thinking of rejoining the NPA will have to suffer the consequences of either being killed in military operations or being jailed,” Sunga said. “We have a stringent process of monitoring and verification system.”

Capt. Ryan Layug, 403Bde spokesman, said ECLIP also includes benefits from the National Housing Authority, scholarship for t he beneficiaries or their dependents, and other additional benefits from the local government units.

He said NPA regulars and militiamen may approach local conduits who will accompany them to the Army or the police for enrollment to ECLIP, subject to validation procedures.


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