Former NPA Rebels from ‘Discovered’ Ata Manobo Village in Davao del Norte receive Livelihood, Cash Assistance under Government Program

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Asuncion, DDN – Over a year since the ‘discovery’ of Sitio Tapayanon in the northernmost boundary of Kapalong, Davao del Norte and the consequent, painstaking effort of both local and national government agencies to recover the villagers from the communist-terrorist ideology that has gripped them tight for years, 28 former CPP-NPA members of the said Sitio received on Thursday (June 4) yet another ‘blessing’ from the government: their livelihood cash assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

Four (4) NPA regulars and 24 Milisya ng Bayan received their respective cash assistances amounting to a total of P620,000.00 from the E-CLIP through the facilitation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte, and the 60th Infantry (MEDIATOR) Battalion.

The ceremonial turning over of cheques were spearheaded by no less than Davao del Norte guv Edwin Jubahib who reassured the 28 former rebels, including Sitio Tapayanon’s tribal chieftain Datu Bansing Balanban, that the services and projects promised to them are mostly underway and will be implemented through this year and beyond. Jubahib particularly stressed the continuation of Tawinian-Tapayanon road opening project among other priority programs of the Province.

Meanwhile, the Kapalong Municipal Government under Mayor Maria Theresa Timbol has also committed to continue its support for Sitio Tapayanon. It has recently been providing the Sitio with food and other basic provisions in line with the persisting threat of the COVID-19. It also continues to collaborate with 60IB and other government agencies to push through with the projects and programs intended for the Sitio.

As of date, the Sitio has already received over 3 million pesos worth of aid not including the ongoing 300 million pesos road project of the DPWH which will soon connect Kapalong, Davao del Norte directly to its neighbor Cabanglasan, Bukidnon through Sitio Tapayanon.

On behalf of his village and the 28 former rebels, Datu Bansing expressed his gratitude and optimism during the ceremony. “There is no way [that] we will return to the deceitful and evil ways of the CPP-NPA. We have been enlightened. We have seen the truth and the bright future awaiting us. And we rest assured that the government and our neighbors will help us build this future. We will forever be thankful for this chance you have all given us,” Datu Bansing said in the vernacular.

CPP-NPA Hits Back, ELCAC Gains Better Ground

Despite progresses made in Sitio Tapayanon, CPP-NPA terrorists continue to harass the village most recently with two attacks the said communist-terrorist group perpetrated last March and April, respectively. Fortunately, no government soldier or civilian were hurt during these attacks.

“This can only mean that our government is on the right track. The only reason they [CPP-NPA] are reacting this way is because they are being hurt. They are being exposed and discredited. I hereby reiterate our call for every concerned citizen, whether you are in government or in the private sector, to continue supporting our campaign to immediately end the local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) and take advantage of the gains we have accumulated over the year.” Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento said in his press statement.