DAVAO CITY – A total of 52 former rebels (FRs) of the New People’s Army (NPA) have received their new housing units under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), the Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade (1001Bde) said in a statement Thursday.
Capt. Roberto Escalona, the 1001Bde civil-military operations officer, said the turnover ceremony was at the Freedom Residences in Barangay Cuambugan, Tagum City on Tuesday.
He said the ECLIP project is in collaboration with the National Housing Authority (NHA) 11 (Davao Region), the 1001Bde, the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, the Tagum City government, the Freedom Residences Homeowners’ Association, and other stakeholders.
“The FR’s are surrenderers under the 1001Bde covering the period from 2018-2020,” Escalona added.
The ECLIP is a government program specifically designed to help the former rebels start new lives.
The project provides beneficiaries with a PHP15,000 initial cash assistance, PHP50,000 livelihood assistance, housing assistance, capacity building, and training, among others.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante III, the 1001Bde commander, congratulated the beneficiaries and hoped that the housing units would help usher in new opportunities for them.
“We will still be always ready to assist you, as you start your new lives,” he said.
Durante also called on other members of the NPA who are still in the mountains, waging armed struggle against the government, to return to the fold of the law.
“Look at your former comrades who chose to surrender; they are now living normal lives together with their families,” he said.
“Let us put an end to these 53 years of deceit, lies, atrocities, and terroristic activities which put so many sufferings to our fellowmen,” he added.
A certain “Ka Kaloy,” one of the beneficiaries, thanked the government for the housing units turned over to them.
“We are very happy and this is a dream come true. We have seen the sincerity of the government in their programs and how they make their promises happen,” he said in the vernacular.
Kaloy also urged his comrades to return to the fold of the government.
The NPA, together with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)