Tandag City – A total of 113 former members of the New People’s Army received various assistance from the government in Tandag city on September 15, 2020.
The former rebels (FRs) were composed of 65 NPA regular members and 48 militias or members of the milisyang bayan (MB).
Governor Alexander T. Pimentel of Surigao del Sur handed over the assistance during the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) awarding ceremony spearheaded by the Caraga Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).
The Caraga RTF-ELCAC is chaired by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles who is also the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Caraga.
According to DILG Provincial Director Pedrito Alacaba, each of the NPA regular member received at least Php65,000 (Php50,000 for livelihood assistance and Php15,000 immediate cash assistance), while the militia received Php15,000 cash assistance. A total of 5.985 million pesos were awarded to 113 FRs.
Those who have surrendered firearms were also paid by the government depending on the kind of firearm that was surrendered and ranges from Php5,000 for a low powered to Php60,000 for a high powered firearm.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Agriculture also distributed livelihood assistance to the beneficiaries.
In his message, Gov. Pimentel underscored the importance of people’s support in ending the insurgency in the country.
“To the peace loving Surigaonons, let us join together in ending the insurgency problem in our province by not supporting the CPP-NPA. Without the support of the masses, the government will be able to end this problem,” Pimentel said.
Meanwhile, Secretary Nograles, via video message, welcomed the FRs for returning and pledging allegiance to the government.
He assured them that the government is doing its best to provide the needed services in conflict-affected and in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.
Maj. General Andres C Centino, Commander of the 4th Infantry Division/Joint Task Force Diamond, said that 83 of the FRs who came from different CPP-NPA units operating in Surigao del Sur surrendered to the 36th Infantry Battalion, 75th Infantry Battalion and 3rd Special Forces Battalion. All these units are under the operational control of 401st Infantry Brigade under Brig Gen Allan Hambala. The 30 others surrendered to
PNP units in Surigao del Sur.
“To the remaining CPP-NPA members, this is your chance to avail of the assistance from the government so you will have peaceful and productive lives with your families. The government is waiting for you, abandon the armed struggle now while you still have a chance,” Centino said.