Over 20,000 people linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) have surrendered and abandoned the local armed struggle through the effective whole-of-nation approach of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
During the virtual press briefing of the NTF-ELCAC on Monday, Defense Undersecretary and Task Force Balik Loob (TFBL) chair Reynaldo Mapagu disclosed that since the start of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration, the government has recorded a total of 20,579 surrenderers, which included 5,262 NPA fighters, 3,414 members of Militia ng Bayan, 7,626 mass supporters, and 2,224 underground mass organization members.
Mapagu said these former rebels have revealed to authorities the locations of 51 NPA arms caches nationwide yielding 245 firearms and 100 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and anti-personnel mines (APMs).
“The recovery of these arms cache is reflective of the dwindling warm bodies in the NPA which is a result of the efforts of the NTF-ELCAC, the continuous military and police operations and the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip), the government’s flagship program for the reintegration of former members of the CPP-NPA-NDF,” Mapagu said.
Mapagu added that the government has spent over half a billion pesos in various programs to aid former rebels to live peaceful and productive lives.
P500 million aid for ex-rebels
He said as of November 28, a total of P485.462 million worth of assistance were given to 6,418 individual former rebels nationwide. Of the total, 6,164 of them received immediate cash assistance; 3,744 were given livelihood assistance; 5,198 for reintegration assistance; and 1,430 received remuneration from surrendering their firearms.
Mapagu said the firearms surrendered by the former rebels were all destroyed to show that “there are no so-called recycling of these firearms” and also to end their role as weapons of violence.
He also said there are 623 former rebels who already joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), with 66 of them “are now enlisted in AFP’s regular forces,” while the remaining 557 former rebels are now members of Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
“E-CLIP assistance is not rewards but rather investments in the country’s human capital and an opportunity that former rebels … have a better future with their families,” Mapagu said.