The three-month engagement of community support program (CSP) teams in four municipalities of southern Iloilo have convinced 70 New People’s Army (NPA) or Militia ng Bayan members to return to the fold of the government.
The 70 surrenderers will be presented to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. on May 24 as well as to the mayors of Leon, Tubungan, Miagao, and San Joaquin towns where they are from.
They will also surrender assorted long and short firearms.
“They are the eyes and ears in the barangays. They are the ones laying mines and part of those who conduct ambush. They were the ones giving information to the active or regular NPA whenever the Army or police enter their area,” Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) of the Philippine Army, told the Philippine News Agency in a phone interview on Friday.
Since CSP teams were deployed to their areas on the first week of February this year, the surrenderers were gradually convinced to give up arms.
“This is the effort of the community support program teams. They talked to them through dialogues during the immersion,” he added.
Batara said at first, there was propaganda information against the CSP teams, such as harassment of locals and destruction of their farms. But the CSP teams did not give up until they fulfilled their mission.
“During the presentation they will be receiving P5,000 assistance from the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and they will also be given food packs,” Batara said.
They will undergo validation for enrolment with the enhanced comprehensive local integration program (E-Clip), for which they will be entitled to receive P15,000 for the firearms they will surrender.
Local government units will provide other interventions such as psychological debriefing while services from other concerned government agencies are also available.E-Clip is a complete assistance package for former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) who are open to becoming productive members of society again. SOVEREIGNPH