Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

At least 27 former members of the New People’s Army in Leyte province received financial assistance on Tuesday from the government through the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Of the total, 23 were from Carigara, three from Hilongos, and one from San Isidro town.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Carigara Mayor Eduardo Ong, 802nd Brigade Commander Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros and other key provincial government officials led the distribution of assistance to the former NPA members in Carigara town.

Nine of the former NPAs received P75,000 each while 18 received P25,000 each. An additional P50,000 were also awarded to those who surrendered with firearms.

Pilar (not her real name), a former NPA finance officer, said the assistance given to them by the government will help them a lot in starting a new life.

“This only shows that the government is the only one who can help us to have a better life,” Pilar said, speaking on behalf of the E-CLIP recipients.

E-CLIP is a government program that aims to reintegrate former rebels back to the community with their families and start a normal life.

“When I surrendered, I thought it was the end of my life. I felt useless, but the military from the 802nd Brigade and the 14th IB (Infantry Battalion) assured me of the government’s assistance,” she added.

Being poor farmers made them vulnerable to NPA’s deceptive recruitment, Pilar said.

“But in reality, they (NPAs) cannot help us,” she added.

Petilla said Pilar’s story is very important to the government so that they would know and can implement proper interventions and program to end the insurgency problem.

“If poverty is the problem, the government should address it, after all the government is not owned by a person who is in the position but by the people who voted for us to rule,” Petilla added.

Ong in his message requested the former NPAs to help in convincing other rebels still with the NPA to surrender.

“We can’t address the problem of insurgency by relying on military action alone. We also need to help them, if you can persuade others to surrender it will be better” he added. SOVEREIGNPH

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