Task Force ‘Balik Loob’ awards E-CLIP to Former Rebels

Published July 11, 2018, 7:32 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Francis Wakefield

Fulfilling President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment to provide Former Rebels (FRs) a good life once they return to the folds of society, the inter-agency Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL), awarded various benefits to 241 FRs under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in the Provincial Capitol of Mati, Davao Oriental.

The FRs received livelihood and immediate assistance checks and firearms remuneration from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), cash assistance for business starter kits worth P4.76 million from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and completion certificates for NC-II technical / vocational skills training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Agency (TESDA).

DOLE’s grant to the Davao Oriental FRs was a result of the province’s excellent performance in implementing the agency’s assistance program for FRs through the efficient liquidation of funds.

The E-CLIP is a strategic flagship program of Duterte as an effective means of achieving the government’s peace and development agenda.

The awarded benefits were facilitated through the combined efforts of TFBL agencies and the Davao Oriental Provincial Government, headed by Governor Nelson Dayanghirang.

Taking pride in having established the Happy Home in his province, the first and only operating half-way house that serves as a transition shelter for FRs, Gov. Dayanghirang encouraged all local government units nationwide to emulate Davao del Norte and its best practices in accepting and caring for FRs in order to strategically address insurgency in their respective localities.

For his part, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., the Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philipppines-Eastern Mindanao Command, shared how the Happy Home was established when he was Brigade Commander of the 701st Infantry, Philippine Army, with the help of the LGU, civil society and the community.

Meanwhile, DILG Assistant Secretary Manuel Felix who represented Secretary Eduardo M. Año, congratulated the ECLIP beneficiaries.

In addition to the awarded benefits, FRs will also be enrolled in the PhilHealth national health plan through the PAMANA sponsorship of the Office for the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP).

Likewise, they are being given psychosocial intervention by experts through counseling and stress debriefings, as well as moral recovery with the assistance from the religious sector.

The FRs are also assured of employment and medical assistance, shelter, legal assistance and continued security protection.

The DILG may grant P5 million for the establishment of halfway houses in other parts of the country, modeled after the Happy Home, which aims to provide an environment for total healing and preparation of rebel returnees for reintegration into mainstream society.

Usec. Reynaldo B. Mapagu of the Department of National Defense, who heads the TFBL, conveyed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s commendation to the local government of Davao Oriental for institutionalizing the E-CLIP through the Happy Home transition shelter.

Task Force Balik-Loob brings together different government agencies in providing FRs free housing, livelihood opportunities, and free education for their children. Since the President issued a directive in 2017 to craft the E-CLIP as a concrete program for the reintegration of FRs, there has been an upward trend in the number of surrenderees from the communist NPA terrorists with the collective effort of TFBL’s programs.