DAVAO ORIENTAL (PIA) - The government has given livelihood and immediate assistance worth P1.3 million and firearms remuneration worth P2.5 million under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to 21 former rebels of the New People's Army.
Each former rebel received livelihood assistance worth P50,000 and immediate assistance worth P15,000.
In addition, 16 of them received an additional separate payment for their surrendered firearms through the E-CLIP's Firearms Remuneration Program.
According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Director, Orle Cabaobao, the firearms remuneration has encouraged more rebels to surrender in the past year as President Rodrigo Duterte ordered to double the payment amount.
One of the former rebels, Bunso (alias), received P714,000 in firearms remuneration as he surrendered seven units of high-powered AK47 firearms.
Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, who led the distribution of checks in a simple ceremony, said that the government will continue to commit to its promise towards peaceful living.
"This is a testament of the government's sincerity on its promise. It is our mission to guide those who have been swayed by the twisted communist ideologies of the CPP-NPA-NPA into the right path so that all of us will be able to live in peace," he said.
701st Brigade Commander Col. Krishnamurti Mortela said that the E-CLIP awarding sends a clear message that "our government is ready to guide and help those who want to start a new life."
As such, he expects more rebels to surrender.
"Based on the numbers that we have been getting, we hope to have more surrenderees," he said.
Through the E-CLIP, the government was able to help transform the lives of 355 FRs since 2013. Aside from the cash aid, the former rebels also received scores of other benefits during their stay at the Happy Home, a provincial government-run halfway house for former rebels.
At the Happy Home, former rebels undergo various trainings, skills development, psychosocial therapy, and educational services through the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education, among many other interventions.
DILG Provincial Director Cabaobao congratulated the former rebels, saying that "the national and provincial government will be very happy if you become successful because it is our President's vision for you to become a productive citizen of our country." (PIO Davao Oriental and Jan Vincent Leuterio, PIA-XI)