MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has given his nod to the proposed creation of inter-agency task force for the resettlement of rebel returnees, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Tuesday.
During a meeting with his Cabinet on Monday, Duterte approved the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) proposal to create a task force for the relocation of rebel returnees to places with idle government lands, Nograles said.
“Gusto po natin mapabilis ang pag-distribute nito dahil alam po natin na napakalaki ng role nito para sa ating peace efforts (We want to fast-track the distribution of lands because we know its big role in our peace efforts),” he said in a virtual presser.
The government, Nograles said, has so far distributed a total of 6,406.6 hectares of land located in Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, and Davao Region.
Nograles noted that the distributed lands are “larger than the size of the City of Manila,” which has an area of 4,288 hectares.
Apart from the creation of task force, Duterte has also approved the DAR’s proposal to direct the military and the police to provide security measures in the government-owned land (GOL) areas which are found to be “critical in nature,” Nograles said.
Nograles said Duterte has also approved the recommendation to instruct government agencies to identify idle GOLs that are ideal for distribution to rebel returnees.
The implementation of the “whole-of-nation approach” for the enhancement of livelihood support projects to rebel returnees has also been approved, Nograles said.
On Feb. 5, Duterte signed four proclamations granting amnesty to members of the communist movement, the Moro National Liberation Front, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade.
The granting of amnesty, according to the presidential proclamations, is in line with the government’s peace policy to nurture a climate conducive for peace and implement programs for reconciliation and reintegration of rebels into mainstream society.
On May 29, 2018, the Department of National Defense issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) directing the Task Force “Balik Loob” to enforce the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), the government’s program for former rebels.
Under E-CLIP, former rebels can avail of PHP15,000 worth of immediate assistance, PHP21,000 to defray the subsistence or meals cost, support to relocate and secure their family, PHP50,000 livelihood assistance, temporary shelter, PhilHealth enrolment, medical assistance, housing assistance, modified conditional cash transfer, legal assistance, and livelihood assistance. (PNA)