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Task Force Balik Loob Awards NHA Housing Assistance to 17 Former Rebels in Agusan del Norte

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CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – The Task Force Balik Loob (TFBL) awarded today NHA Housing Assistance Packages to 17 Former Rebels in Agusan del Norte.

During the TFBL Awarding of Housing Assistance Ceremony held at Almont Inland Hotel, Butuan City, TFBL Chairman and DND Undersecretary Reynaldo B Mapagu spearheaded the release of checks worth P450,000.00 each for the housing assistance of 17 FRs under the Enhance Comprehensive Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The NHA housing assistance package for the FRs is among the menu of benefits under the ECLIP that will be received by Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members who decided to abandon the armed struggle and return to peaceful lives with their families.

Said assistance will be used to construct the new home of FRs at the 1.4 hectare lot donated by San Roque Metals, Incorporated (SRMI), to the provincial government of Agusan del Norte located at Brgy Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.

Among the 17 FRs who availed and benefited from the housing assistance program are those who surrendered to the 29th Infantry Battalion under the 901st Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division. 7 are now CAFGUs, 7 are enlisted in the Philippine Army while 3 have returned to their communities.

USec Mapagu expressed his gratitude to all the partner stakeholders for the success of ECLIP implementation in Agusan del Norte while also underscoring the contribution of the Philippine Army and the PNP as the frontliners on the ground. He then thanked the FRs for trusting the government and ensured that the government will do its best to provide their needs.

“Kayo ang patunay na sinsero ang ating mahal na pangulo at ang ating gobyerno sa mga alok nya sa mga former rebels. Sana kayu ang maging instrumento at tagapaghatid ng mensahe sa mga dati nyung kasamahan na magbalik loob narin sa gobyerno upang malaman nila na may magandang kinabukasan kung magbabalik loob”.

Meanwhile, Governor Dale B. Corvera of Agsuan del Norte said that in close coordination with the PNP, the AFP and with the different member agencies of the provincial ECLIP Committee, FRs are ensured that they will receive various benefits and interventions as they transition towards mainstream society.

Lt General Greg T Almerol, the Commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP, during his speech said that the housing assistance program for FRs is a big boost to the campaign against insurgency especially that the limited opportunity in the housing program is one of the cause of insurgency.

Information gathered from NHA Caraga stated that a total of 219 units of the existing AFP-PNP housing projects that were reallocated to the FR Housing program were already awarded nationwide and 4 of these FR beneficiaries came from Agusan del Norte. Also, there are already 19 FRs who received P100,000.00 cash for the rehabilitation/repair and improvement of existing housing units owned by an FR and among them is an FR from Agusan del Norte; while a total of 528 FRs already received cash assistance in the amount of P450, 000.00 for the construction of a housing unit in a location chosen by the FR to include the 17 FRs who are beneficiaries for today’s ceremony.

Inspired by the FRs decision to voluntary withdraw support from the CTG and reject its twisted ideology, Lt Gen Almerol assured and pledged to the FRs the Philippine Army’s full support and commitment to uplift their living conditions in coordination with different agencies.

“Itong seremonya na ginagawa natin ay upang magbigay ng tulong sa ating mga FRs at hindi lamang ito tagumpay ng kasundaluhan kundi isang tagumpay ng buong pamayanan na nagkakaisa para sa kapayapaan at kaunlaran. Sa mga former rebels, malugod naming kayung tinatanggap. Akung hinaot nga pinaagi aning programa, mas malig-on pa ang inyung pagsalig sa atung gobyerno og kaming tanan sinsero sa pagtabang sa inyo.

In his statement, MGen Romeo S Brawner Jr, 4ID Commander, reiterated his call for the remaining members of the CTG to leave the path of violence. He said that the government have demonstrated the gesture of its sincerity and on the promise of better opportunities once they decide to lay down their arms and return to peaceful path.

“You have suffered enough from this futile armed struggle. This is high time for you to return to the folds of the law. You have now the chance to live in peace with a new home with your family. Avail the ECLIP and be productive members of society where all of us will thread the path of peace and development”, MGen Brawner’s call for the CTG.

Also in attendance during the awarding ceremony were Mr Marcelino P Escalado Jr, NHA General Manager; Director Lilibeth T Famacion, DILG Caraga Region Director; Mayor Judy C Amante of Cabadbaran City, Butuan City Administrator Rey Desiata and Governor Dale B Corvera of Agusan del Norte; Brigade and Battalion Commanders in the Caraga region; and Regional Directors and/or representatives of Presidential Management Staff, TESDA, DTI, DSWD, DA, DOH, CDA, NCIP, CHED, DEPED, DAR, PPO Agusan del Norte, and SMRI.

The Task Force Balik Loob is an inter-agency task force that supervises, monitors and assesses the E-CLIP assistance implementation for the Former Rebels.

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