LORETO, Agusan del Sur – Barely a month since surrendering to the Balik-Loob Assistance Center of the 60th Infantry Battalion in Loreto, Agusan del Sur, twenty (20) former members of the New Peoples’ Army have already been given a head start with their proper and smooth reintegration to their families and communities through immediate cash grants and other interventions.
While awaiting their benefits under the national government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), Mayor Lorife Magadan of Loreto, ADS already awarded P20,000.00 immediate cash assistance to each of the former rebels (FRs) last week. The localized FR assistance program of Loreto is anchored on Mayor Magadan’s “APING” Development Agenda which puts peace and order among the LGU’s top priorities
On the other hand, Mayor Michael Lim and the local government of La Paz, ADSwere also chipping in by providing the FRs and their families their subsistence allowance on top of assisting the on-going Community Support Program of 60IB in the conflict affected Brgy Kasapa 2 of the said town.
The FRs also underwent other activities over the weekend to include an exclusive orientation on agricultural livelihood prospects and distribution of initial livelihood starter packs by the LGU Loreto and the local office of the Department of Agriculture; and the profiling for E-CLIP and distribution of P5,000.00 cheques to each of the FRs by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office of the Agusan del Sur Provincial Government.
The FRs and their families were also given complete medical and psychosocial assistance by the concerned LGUs.
Meanwhile, 60IB Commander, Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento reported that they are also “gaining ground with [our] on-going Community Support Program in the conflict-affected, boundary-areas of Loreto and La Paz.”
“With our continued collaboration with the LGUs and the cooperation of the communities where we are currently focusing our efforts, we are expecting to gain more surrenders from the ranks of both NPA regulars and supporters. [And] We mean to do this while also directing the much-needed services, programs, and projects into these same communities ASAP,” Sarmiento added.
The 60IB together with other units of the 1001st Infantry Brigade under the Joint Task Force Agila (10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army) recently figured in a series of armed clashes and pursuits against members of the CPP-NPA’s Weakened Guerilla Front 3 (WGF 3) and Pulang Bagani Command 4 (PBC 4), Sub-regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Command in the boundary areas of Loreto and La Paz towns in Agusan Sur.
The said military operations resulted to the killing of several CPP-NPA terrorists, the recovery of numerous firearms, improvised explosive devices, and subversive documents, and the current influx of surrenders.
The 20 FRs surrendered to the 60IB between January 25 to February 4, all of them bringing their firearms along.