Bong Go urges gov’t to streamline ECLIP benefits for former rebels

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday, November 13, urged the government to make sure that former rebels are receiving the benefits that have been promised to them under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

ECLIP is a package of assistance provided to former rebels. Under the program, Go said former rebels will receive financial support in the form of immediate, livelihood, and reintegration assistance, and firearms remuneration depending on the surrendered firearms, among others.

Given that the benefits are currently provided separately by various departments, Go suggested that the government streamline their provision and ensuring their seamless delivery.

Th senator said the government should consider putting the ECLIP under the Department of National Defense (DND) or the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Because I heard some of the beneficiaries do not receive their reward,” Go lamented.

He continued, “Aside from that, meron rin akong narinig na reklamo, merong isang probinsya na hindi pa nabalikan ‘yung kanilang dapat na matanggap, ‘yung package (I also heard complaints, there is one province they have yet to receive their own reward or package),” he said.

“Bakit hindi ninyo nalang po tignan yung programa na maisa, ma-integrate, at talagang maging programa? (Why don’t we check if we can integrate the program),” suggested Go.

The senator said more rebels will be encouraged to rejoin society if there is consistency in the delivery of the benefits, which can be achieved by consolidating them under one agency.

“Baka pwede nating gawing programa ito na Balik Loob Program? Para naman tuluyang ma-engganyo yung mga sumu-surrender na hindi sila maligaw muli (Maybe we can make this program a returning program? So that we can fully encourage those who surrendered to the government),” said Go.

Likewise, Go expressed his support for the proposed 2023 budget of the DND and its attached agencies during the plenary deliberations that lasted past midnight on Friday, November 11.

He said the country's military and other uniformed personnel play a crucial role in maintaining peace, national security and development.

“They protect our country’s sovereignty. Karapat-dapat lamang po na suportahan natin sila at kung pwede nga po dagdagan pa po natin ang budget nila para mas matulungan natin sila (It’s only fitting that we support them and if ever add funds to their budget so we can fully help them),” said Go.

“We must be of service to them by formulating and pushing for legislation which will support the initiatives for the betterment of the military service,” he reiterated.