CAVINTI, Laguna, Jan 18 (PIA) - At least 13 former rebels who surrendered to government troops in Laguna were given livelihood assistance under the national government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
The 13 former rebels who belonged to the communist terrorist group New People's Army received the assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) - Laguna in a ceremony held at the 202nd Brigade Headquarters in Cavinti town on Friday, January 15.
DOLE Laguna Provincial Director Guido Recio who led the turnover said the reintegration a
ssistance reflects the efforts of the Laguna Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) to address problems on insurgencies and armed conflict in the province and helping former rebels to return to their normal lives.
"Ang ipinamahagi ng gobyerno na livelihood assistance ngayong araw na ito ay isang maliit na bagay lamang. Ang tunay na kahalagahan po niyan ay yung ipinakita ng inyong gobyerno na sinsiridad na tanggapin ng buong puso ang pagbabalik ng ating former rebels," Recio said.
"Inaasahan po namin na makakatulong ito sa inyo, sa inyong pamilya at kami'y muling nangangako na patuloy kayong tutulungan sa inyong pagbangon at mapayapang pamumuhay," he added.
Brig. Gen. Alex S Rillera, commander of the 202nd Brigade, commended the Laguna PTF-ELCAC for its efforts and commitment in addressing the root causes of insurgencies, armed conflicts, and other CTG threats in the province.
He also urged the former rebels to convince their former comrades to go back to the fold of the law and share renewed lives with their families instead of pursuing the armed struggle.
"Ang mahihiling ko lng sa inyo ay ikalat ninyo yung inyong magandang karanasan sa pagbabalik loob sa ating gobyerno. Ating hikayatin ang iba pa nating kasamahang naliligaw ang landas na iwaksi ang armadong pakikibaka para magkaisa na tayo at maging mapayapa na ang ating bansang Pilipinas," Rillera said.
A rebel surrenderrer expressed his gratitude to the government for the livelihood assistance and commit to do everything they could to encourage more surrenderers.
"Pinapaabot ko po at ng aking mga kasamahan sa ating gobyerno ang taus-pusong pasasalamat sa napakalaking tulong na ipinamahagi nyo sa aming hanay ngayong araw na ito dahil magkakaroon kami kagamitan na aming pagsisimulan sa aming kabuhayan," said a rebel surrender.
"Umasa po kayo na gagawin po namin sa abot ng aming makakaya na ipapaabot sa mga kasamahan namin na nananatili sa kabundukan na makita nila ang kahulugan ng aming pagbabalik loob," he added.
According to John Cerezo, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Laguna provincial director, E-CLIP is one of the programs created by the government to facilitate the mainstreaming of former rebels as they return to the society. Aside from the livelihood assistance, Cerezo said, under the E-CLIP, a former rebel is alo entitled to receive other assistance such as firearms remuneration, half-way house assistance, medical assistance, education assistance, and housing assistance. (with reports from 202nd Unifier Brigade)