By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Gabriela Women’s partylist is asking the the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to explain the supposed irregularities in the implementation of the government’s rebel returnee program.
Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas sought a congressional probe on supposed “anomalous scheme” on rebel returnees, citing the need to review the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
She vowed to file a resolution urging the House of Representatives to look into the government’s rebel returnee program, when Congress resumes session on January 20, 2020.
“The government allocates millions of funds to E-CLIP each year and not a single audit or review has been made regarding its implementation,” she said in a statement, even as she scored the manipulated photo of alleged former rebels released by the Philippine Army.
According to her, the E-CLIP, which has been allocated an additional P106.1 million as part of the DILG’s 2020 budget next year, has become “a fake rebel-and-firearms for-cash raket” by “corrupt” military officials and their cohorts from the local government units (LGUs).
This year, the program has a funding of P260.4 million, she noted.
“Each rebel returnee supposedly receives up to P165,000, including the maximum amount for firearms remuneration of P100,000 under the E-CLIP. But who determines if the rebel is fake or not? We fear that the program has become a milking cow for corrupt military men and partner LGUs as the total tally of rebel returnees is far higher than the estimated number of communist rebels,” she added.
Brosas said the DILG and AFP should explain to Congress the supposed alleged irregularities in the implementation of E-CLIP.
“Tapos sinasabi nila, may 306 pang sumuko ngayong Holiday season on top of the hundreds who allegedly surrendered this year. Bakit mas marami ang sumuko sa mismong bilang ng rebelde? Dapat magpaliwanag ang AFP at DILG sa Kongreso sa iregularidad na ito,” she said.
(They were telling us, there were 306 who surrendered this Holiday season on top of the hundreds who allegedly surrendered this year. Why is it that the number of those who surrendered is bigger than the actual number of rebels? The AFP and the DILG must explain to Congress this irregularity.)
She recalled that exactly a year ago, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared that there were around 8,000 rebels who surrendered to the government.
“But the government keeps on saying that Communist rebels are down to just 4,000,” Brosas said.
She accused the military of using the E-CLIP to terrorize communities and to force non-combatants to admit that they are communist rebels supposedly in exchange for cash, citing reports from the ground.
“This anomalous scheme on rebel returnees, which is in line with the government’s all-out war masked as whole-of-nation approach, must be stopped. Reintegration to a society marred by social injustices does not solve the root causes of armed conflict. Instead, the government should sincerely address the massive landlessness and lack of national industries,” Brosas said.