ILOILO CITY, Sept. 17 (PIA) -- The Philippine government is set to release PhP580 million worth of social packages to 310 members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army - Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) who are set to undergo decommissioning this week.
Captain Cenon Pancito III, chief of the 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (DPAO), said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, under the Office of the President, has given the go-signal to release the said amount for the group.
The packages will consist of social protection programs, capacity development, livelihood and employment assistance, housing assistance, financial aid, and projects to boost economic activity in their areas.
"It's more of, to look after them as to their welfare, that's why may social package tayo na may kasama pa dito," he said in a press conference.
He said that the demands of the group were jointly discussed and approved with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The former combatants are from the cities of Cadiz, Kabankalan, and San Carlos, and Cauayan town, Negros Occidental; Ibajay town, Aklan; Maasin town, Iloilo; and Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.
Further, the group will be trained on the military way of peace and security operations for two months.
After the training, these former combatants will have their own detachments at the eight Peace Development Community sites manned by them.
They will be trained because their concern is that "they will be prone to abuse by their former comrades from the New People's Army," said Pancito.
According to him, the RPA-ABB has accounted for 100 percent surrenderers.
The group claims to have influence in 100 barangays in the country. It has influence over 91 barangays in Western Visayas alone.
"We would likewise call on the leaders of the New People's Army from the different commands operating in Western and Central Visayas to take a cue from this group," Pancito said.
In a press release, the RPA-ABB group is currently known as Kapatiran para sa Progresibong Panlipunan.
It signed a peace agreement with the government in the year 2000. (LTP/CBA/PIA6)