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Ex-NPAs in Davao del Norte receive cash aid

Asuncion, Davao Del Norte – Another batch of former New People’s Army rebels here received cash assistance from the government after they voluntarily surrendered to the military.

2Lt. Amadeus Celestial, a civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 60th Infantry (Mediator) Battalion, said each surrenderer received P15,000 cash and P50,000 livelihood assistance under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) at a ceremony at the Davao del Norte Provincial Government Center, Tagum City on December 1.

Alex Roldan, the regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), led the distribution of cash totaling P715, 000.  Among those present in the ceremony were Police Senior Supt. Alan Manibog of the DDN Police Office, Col. Erwin Bernard Neri,  1001st Brigade commander, and Col. Ernesto Torres, Jr., 1003rd Brigade commander, both under the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

The distribution was preceded by the regular Provincial Peace and Order Council Meeting (PPOC) of Davao del Norte presided by Governor Anthony del Rosario.

The cash assistance for rebel returnees is managed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and provincial and municipal governments.

Two weeks ago, four NPA members also voluntarily turned over their firearms and other war materials such as landmines to the  60IB. Over 70 former NPA members have surrendered since the breaking of the ceasefire in February.

Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla, the 60IB Commander,  called on the remaining NPA rebels to “heed the government’s call for peace” by laying down their arms and availing themselves of government programs like CLIP.

According to Canilla, custodial interviews of surrendering rebels reveal that the CLIP is among the significant factors they consider in why it is better to return to the folds of the law rather than continue in the NPA’s armed struggle.

Meanwhile, Col. Neri of 1001st Bde, said that “while we intend to following the President’s orders of conducting relentless operations and using available resources to put an end to the criminal and terroristic acts of the NPA, we are also still accepting and encouraging them [NPA] to surrender.”

The CLIP is a government initiative that seeks to permanently and peacefully end all armed conflicts with armed groups. The program includes the facilitation of the mainstreaming of former CPP-NDF-NPA rebels into becoming productive citizens and compensation and remuneration of all turned-in firearms, including those coming from surrendering members of the local militia. #