ALCALA, Cagayan, Jan. 21 (PIA) - - At least 220 rebel returnees surrendered to the 5th Infantry Division (5ID), Philippine Army were now assisted by the national government through its Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
Brigadier General Pablo Lorenzo, commander of the 5ID, said of the total number, 120 were regular members of the New Peoples' Army (NPA) while 60 were members of the "Militia ng Bayan".
He said 60 of the former rebels were already provided with livelihood and financial assistance while more than 20 will receive the same assistance soon.
"This is part of our effort to encourage the rebels to lay down their arms and approach us to discuss their issues," Lorenzo said.
He also emphasized that the army is intensifying the campaign to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) by organizing task forces from the region down to the barangay level.
He said, following the declaration of the municipal, city and provincial government that NPAs are persona non grata in their respective areas of responsibility, he urged schools and all government line agencies to also issue their own versions of the declaration.
"More than 80 percent of the barangays in region 2 have already declared NPAs as persona non grata. This is to eliminate recruitment activities of front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF to the young ones and even to government employees," Lorenzo added.
He also challenged the local officials and organizations to implement the programs seriously and venture to other means to ensure that no rebel will be welcomed in their respective communities. (ALM/MDCT/OTB/PIA 2-Cagayan)