67 rebel returnees in Masbate avail of local integration program

Published April 17, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By (PNA)

Legazpi City – At least 67 former rebels in Masbate are now undergoing clearances for the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the national government after they surrendered to military authorities.

Col. Greg Almerol, commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, said the rebel returnees coming from the different towns of Masbate province will receive support under the CLIP program, as well as aid from the different line agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“I am very thankful for the pledges of support given by our partner agencies,” he said during the Tsokolate at Pandesal forum over the weekend.

Almerol said the former rebels surrendered to authorities, particularly to members of the 903rd Brigade of the Philippine Army assigned in Masbate province from December of 2017 to March 2018.

Nine of the former rebels were from Claveria town, 21 from Aroroy, 16 from Balud, 14 from Monreal, two each from San Pascual and Mobo, one each from the towns of Milagros and San Jacinto, and one from Masbate City.

Some rebel returnees said their worst situations and sufferings in the former organization caused them to surrender.

A former rebel said they decided to surrender because the leadership of their former organization did not give them the promised salary.

“Our family was only given R2,000 per month,” he said.

Under the CLIP program, the former rebels will be given the assistance they need from the government in order to reintegrate themselves as law abiding citizens.

The National Housing Authority pledged to support their housing needs; while JCI, Team Albay Youth Organization (TAYO) and other agencies will provide food assistance.

Bicol PNP spokesperson Senior Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib said the PRO-5 is now collecting material support from every division and office inside Camp Gen. Simeon Ola intended for the former rebels.

Meanwhile, Almerol said they were overwhelmed with the recent numbers of rebels surrendering in different towns of Masbate.

He noted that over 100 communist members are also willing to surrender and avail of the ‘Balik-loob’ program of the government.

The 903rd IB is now under the process of preparing the mass surrender of a whole community allegedly infested by the New People’s Army in an undisclosed town in Masbate province, he added.