BUTUAN CITY – Thirty former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Bukidnon province received financial aid through the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or ECLIP.
These former NPAs received their immediate cash assistance during a brief ceremony held at the Kaamulan Folk Theater in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province.
In a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin late Monday afternoon, Civil Military Operations (CMO officer of 8th Infantry Battalion (8th IB) Second Lt. Camille M. Bumatay said the former NPAs received a total of P1.7 million from the government.
Of the 38 former rebels (FRs), 10 voluntarily surrendered to the 8th IB recently. They received immediate assistance worth P15,000, each and livelihood assistance worth P50,000. Of the 10, seven were regular members of the NPA, and three were members of the Militia ng Bayan (MB), the 8th IB CMO officer said.
“They were very much happy when they received the cash aid last week (Aug. 13),” Bumatay said.
“I am very happy and thankful to the government for providing me utmost support. Before I was with the struggling armed group believing a wrong ideology, a wrong leadership; now, I am a certified CAA serving our community under our only one government, the Philippine government,” the 8th IB CMO officer said, quoting “Ka Jer” in vernacular, now CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) member.
Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma Zubiri Jr., provincial chairman of E-CLIP Committee, told the former NPAs to properly use the cash money they received for their livelihood.
“I am glad that you’ve received the cash assistance that you will use to start a new life. This province will continue to provide interventions that you need to support your families,” the provincial chief executive said.
In that same ceremony, 8th IB commander Lt. Col. Edgardo V. Talaroc, Jr. urged the other remaining NPAs who are still in the mountain to come down and avail the government’s peace and development program.
“Once again, we urge all remaining NPAs to surrender, lay down your arms, and live peacefully with your families,” the 8th IB commander said.
“The government has an E-CLIP that provides a complete package to the rebels and their families who decide to abandon the armed struggle and return to the folds of the law,” Talaroc added.
It can be recalled that last July 20, a total of 67 former rebels received a total of P 2.5 million financial aid in Bukidnon, wherein 22 surrendered to the 8thIB.