A total of 122 former rebels (FRs) from the provinces of Masbate and Sorsogon were welcomed back to the fold of the law and were formally received by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana at the Magallanes Coliseum, Masbate City, on October 9, 2018. The FRs were provided with immediate and livelihood assistance, as well as firearms remuneration and other needs-based benefits under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Southern Luzon Command Commander LTGEN Danilo G Pamonag of the Armed Forces of the Philippines presented the FRs in a simple ceremony.
Secretary Lorenzana, together with Task Force Balik Loob (TFBL) Chairperson Reynaldo B. Mapagu, Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs of the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Alexander Macario and Masbate Governor Antonio Kho, handed over checks representing the government’s assistance.
In addition, sewing machines from the Department of Labor and Employment and portable welding machine from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, livestocks from Department of Agriculture, cash assistance from the Provincial Local Government and P1.182M-worth of cash assistance from Department of Social Welfare and Development were provided to 122 FRs in a symbolic awarding of E-CLIP benefits.
Asec Macario administered the Oath of Allegiance to the FRs, which signified their full commitment in returning back to the government and mainstream society and their loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines.
“Sa mga mahal naming returnees, mga kapatid, mga kababayan, kasabay ng inyong pagbabalik-loob sa lipunan ay simula ng bagong kabanata ng inyong buhay na may dalang pag-asa, kapanatagan, at kaginhawaan kasama ang inyong pamilya at mga mahal sa buhay. Asahan niyo na kasama at kaakibat ninyo kaming mga kinatawanan ng pamahalaan at sugo ng lipunang sibil sa inyong bagong paglalakbay at bagong buhay,” Secretary of National Defense Lorenzana said during the event.
E-CLIP is the flagship program of the Duterte administration that seeks to effect social healing and national unity through a whole-of-nation approach towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace. It provides social equity to former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and the Militia ng Bayan by devising a different modality of providing benefits and services to the FRs, in order to reintegrate them into mainstream society. These benefits do not serve as an end, but rather a means to aid the FRs in securing a foothold in restarting their lives.
Unlike previous government rebel reintegration programs, the E-CLIP provides a wider array of benefits based on the particular needs of FRs and their families such as financial assistance, housing, education, skills training, healthcare, legal assistance, and among others through a convergence of various national and local government agencies.
TFBL, an interagency body headed by Defense Undersecretary Rey Mapagu, monitors and assesses the implementation of E-CLIP at the national level. Established pursuant to Administrative Order No. 10 of President Duterte, the TFBL includes the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Office of the President, National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP) as among its lead agencies, and other government agencies and instrumentalities as partner agencies that may be tapped to provide additional benefits and services to FRs.