CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan Zamboanga del Sur – Forty-three Former Rebels (FRs) were awarded with Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program’s (E-CLIP) financial assistance of the government in Headquarters, 53rd Infantry Battalion, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur Friday, March 8, 2019.
A total of 2.7 million pesos were handed-over to the FRs, where each received 65 thousand pesos as livelihood and emergency assistance.
Former rebels who surrendered their firearms received additional cash as remunerations depending on the value such as P50,000.00 for M-16 and P60,000.00 for M-14.
Groundbreaking ceremony of the Half-way house for the FRs was also realized with Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, Chairperson, Task Force Balik-Loob, Hon. Antonio Cerilles, Governor of Zamboanga del Sur and other head of government agencies who form part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).
“The government is serious in the implementation of the program and we urge others (NPAs) to grab the opportunity and avail the benefits of E-CLIP” said Mapagu.
Half-way house serves as the venue for their (FRs) rehabilitation, healing session and education and skills training activities.
“The activities in the half-way house will help them recuperate from the bad experiences they’ve encountered in the hands of NPA organization,” said Brigadier General Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces).
“We call on other NPAs to lay down their arms, return to the folds of the law and take advantage of the E-CLIP for them to change their lives and live peacefully with their families. We will also ensure their safety and well-being and assist them together with other stakeholders for them to become productive Filipino citizens,” Ancan added.
Alias SMALLBOY, one of the surrenderees, during his impression said that “Taas na kaayo ang panahon sa pakig gyera nako sa gobyerno ug wala kami magmalampuson. (It has been a long time since our armed struggle with the government forces and we were not successful.)
“Wala ko gadahom nga ingon ani kamaayo ang programa na E-CLIP kay kadtong naa pa ko sa NPA abi namo ug naa nay gahulat nga lubnganan para sa amo nga mga rebelde kung kami magsurrender.”
(I did not expect how generous the E-CLIP program of the government is, because when we were in the NPA, we thought that a graveyard was already arranged for us if we surrender, he added.)
“Dili sulbad ang gyera sa mga problema. Akong gi awhag ang akong mga kauban na naug na samtang dili pa ulahi ang tanan. (“Armed struggle will not solve our problem. We urge our comrades to surrender before it is too late, he concluded.)
On the same day, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing for a deed of usufruct between the 53rd Infantry Battalion and provincial LGU of Zamboanga del Sur was also conducted.
The MOA allowed the battalion to make use of the 19.5 hectares from LGU Zamboanga del Sur for military training and other related purposes.
“To the FRs, make use of the land, farm there and gain income,” said Hon Antonio Cerilles, Zamboanga de Sur governor.
“We don’t want you to go back to fight again with the government. We don’t want your families to suffer,” Cerilles added.