By Rjhay E. Laurea
CAGAYAN de Oro City — At least fifty (50) combatants belonging to the rebel group New People’s Army (NPA) and Militia ng Bayan (MB) in Region 10 surrendered to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr. led the oath of allegiance of former rebel combatants as they swore to leave the communist armed rebellion and turn a new leaf as peaceful, productive Filipino citizens.
“Tandaan ninyo, sa mga sumuko sa gobyerno, we will make sure na hindi kayo magsisisi. Mahal na mahal namin kayo. Ngayong sumuko na kayo, ang pinaka-importante ay hindi ang pagsurrender ng baril. Ang pinaka-importante ay ito: sa mga susunod na araw ay maaalalayan sila [former rebels] ng gobyerno. Hindi ninyo kailangan ilagay ang batas sa inyong kamay (Remember, those who surrendered to the government, we will make sure that you will not regret it. We love you so much. Now that you have surrendered, the most important thing is not disarming yourselves. The most important thing in the next few days is the government will be able to assist you. You don’t need to put the law in your hands),” said Abalos.
The former communist rebels received a total of P13.8-million worth of assistance and firearm remuneration under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.
A total of 183 surrendered firearms were demilitarized during the ceremony. Of the surrendered firearms, 160 came from Bukidnon Province, five (5) from Lanao del Norte, six (6) from Misamis Oriental and 12 from Cagayan de Oro City.
“Sa pamumuno ng ating Pangulong Bongbong Marcos, mayroon kayong gobyernong hindi lamang nakikinig sa inyong problema, kundi gumagawa din ng aksyon. At kung magkakasama tayo sa pag-papatupad ng mga programang ito, hindi tayo magkakamali (With President Bongbong Marcos’ leadership, you have a government that will not only listen to your problems but will also act on it. And if we are together on the implementation of these programs we will not go wrong),” said Abalos.
Abalos echoed the call of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for unity during the formal ceremony.
Qualified E-CLIP beneficiaries are entitled to receive cash assistance like P50,000 livelihood assistance; P15,000 for mobilization expenses; and firearms remuneration amounting to the value of the surrendered firearms.
The E-CLIP aims to incentivize the communist surrender and help reintegrate former members of the NPA and MB as part of the government’s anti-insurgency and terrorism campaign.
The E-CLIP is a flagship program of the previous administration that the present administration plans to continue.
According to Abalos, the Marcos administration targets to reach far-flung barangays to solve the root causes of insurgency in the country. (AI/MTVN)