CEBU CITY – Four former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Bohol will have a good start in life after receiving a total of PHP235,000 cash assistance from the government.
1Lt. Elma Grace Remonde, 47th Infantry “Katapatan” Battalion (47IB) civil military operations chief, on Monday said Governor Arthur Yap turned over the checks to the surrenderers identified as beneficiaries of the national government’s Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP)
Yap handed a check worth PHP50,000 to “Ka Arlene” and PHP15,000 to “Ka Goliat”, while “Ka Ernie” and “Ka Asyong” got PHP95,000 and PHP75,000, respectively, in separate ceremonies in Mabini and Alicia towns last Saturday.
Remonde said the former rebels were identified as youth organizers in the communist-terrorist movement in Bohol.
She said the rebels yielded to the authorities, bringing their firearms, on different occasions after they felt the displeasure in fighting a lost cause clouded with false promises.
“They have been deceived to having a good life in exchange for joining the New People’s Army. Rather, a miserable life awaits them as they entered the organization,” the Army officer told the Philippine News Agency.
Ka Arlene persuaded her former comrades who are still fighting in the mountains to come down and be one with the government in working for the country’s progress.
“I thank our government for the help they had given me and my family. I call on my former colleagues to come down and live in peace. I hope you understand that the rebels cannot revive us, they are the ones who are asking from the masses instead. Leave the armed group and avail the government’s integration program for you to start a new and live well,” she said in her message to the rebels still fighting the government.
Ka Ernie recalled his miserable situation while fighting against government forces, saying he braved the rains with an empty stomach and in fear of being killed.
“We slept in grassy and rocky places. The hardships of life especially when it rains and there is nothing to eat. At night, we walked in fear that the military might overtake us. We always talked about the incapability of the government and only the support from the communist party could help me and my family,” Ka Ernie said in a statement.
The former communist rebel said for several years that he lived in the mountains with other fighters, “nothing happened with their (CPP-NPA) promises”.
“Now, that I have returned to the government, I have proven more that the government is the one who can help me live in peace,” he said.
With the recent programs in addressing the issues with rebels, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 10 institutionalizing E-CLIP as one of the programs to help the members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and Militia ng Bayan reintegrate to mainstream society.
The interventions are led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, government agencies and local government units.
Remonde said the 47IB is continuously urging NPA fighters to return to the fold of the law and live with their families without fear and anxiety. “Our government is sincere in its campaign of winning the genuine peace that everyone is longing for,” she said. (PNA)