DILG: LOCALIZED PEACE TALKS A SUCCESS
More and more communist rebels are returning to the fold of law because of the continuing success of localized peace talks between local government officials and local rebels, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that because of the persevering efforts of local officials and local peace and order councils, several communist rebels have already seen the light, turned back on their twisted ideology, and returned to mainstream society.
“Dahil sa sipag at pagpupursigi ng ating mga local officials, natanggal na ang kaliskis sa mga mata ng mga dating rebelde at naliwanagan na sila na walang saysay at kabuluhan ang kanilang ipinaglalaban,” says Año.
The DILG Chief says that just recently, 114 former Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) supporters and militias pledged loyalty to the government in a ceremony held at Barangay 2 covered court in Bacolod City last February 25.
Año says the 114 former rebels are residents of Barangays Quezon, Guadalupe, Buluangan, Nataban, and Cod-cod.
According to him, their oath of allegiance was facilitated by the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) with the presence of the city mayor and the city chief of police, officials from various barangays, and a representative from the DILG.
Earlier, the 79IB also facilitated the conduct of the oath of allegiance of two groups, which also renounced support to the CPP-NPA, in two cities in northern Negros.
Last February 22, 80 former members and mass supporters of the CPP-NPA pledged loyalty to the government in Victorias City.
They are from Barangays Estado and Gawahon in Victorias City; Caduhaan in Cadiz City; Canlusong in EB Magalona; and San Pablo in Manapla.
The following day, 35 persons from Escalante City also expressed their loyalty to the Philippine government.
They included residents of Binaguiohan, Pinapugasan, Paitan, and Dian-ay, who took their oath of allegiance before Pastor Morito Panadero at the battalion’s headquarters in Barangay Bato, Sagay City.
“Bukas ang pinto ng pamahalaan para sa mga rebelde na nais nang magbagong buhay at makipagtulungan sa gobyerno na tahakin ang landas ng pagbabago. Hindi pa huli ang lahat para sa inyo,” says Año.
According to the DILG Secretary, the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict by President Duterte will also lead to more rebel surrenders because of its focus on localized peace engagements.
“Buong puwersa na ng pamahalaan ang magtutulungan para tuldukan ang komunismo at terorismo sa bansa kaya sa mga kampon ni Joma Sison, tumiwalag na kayo sa inyong paniniwala at maging katuwang ng pamahalaan sa pagtataguyod ng ating bansa,” he says.
Assistance for rebel surrenderers
To aid former rebels in their return to the mainstream. Año says the DILG’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) offers assistance to them, including their immediate family members.
Under E-CLIP, former rebels (FRs) are provided with P15,000 immediate cash assistance, P50,000 livelihood assistance, firearms compensation, psycho-social support, skills training, shelter, and other forms of help such as legal, employment and medical assistance.
The DILG has disbursed around P488 million for the program in 2018.
E-CLIP is one of the main components of the inter-agency Task Force Balik Loob Program that serves as the central coordinating body in supervising the government’s reintegration efforts for the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and their immediate family members.
Photo from GMA News Online