Gov’t dangles free legal aid to lure NPA rebels to surrender
MANILA, Philippines — A task force in charge of the reintegration programs for communist rebels is enticing those who wish to surrender with free legal assistance.
“May mga nagbibigay ng feelers, karamihan sa kanila ‘yung may mga kaso. Sabi nila may pending cases sila. Sabi namin sa kanila, just come down if you want… Sabi namin we can assist you in legal needs. Nandyan ang PAO (Public Attorneys Office),” Usec. Reynaldo Mapagu, chairperson of the Task Force Balik Loob, said on Monday.
“It’s high time that we end the communist insurgency kasi tayong mga FIlipino, pare-parehas tayong nagpapatayan. Pwede naman tayong mag-usap at ayusin natin ng mapayapa,” he added.
At the center of the government program is the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), which offers housing, education, livelihood, health care and other benefits for rebels who choose to return to the government fold.
More than 8,000 communist rebels, mostly from Davao and Caraga region, have surrendered to the government from July 2016 to November 2018. All of them would be provided a package from the E-CLIP program.
‘Come home for Christmas’
The task force continues to persuade those who are still in the hinterlands to lay down their weapons and return home for Christmas.
Their message is simple: Think of your families.
The task force launched a collection of public announcement materials — video infomercials, radio mini-dramas and messages for rebels as part of its “Balik-Loob, Balik-Pamilya: Paskong Kay Saya Campaign.”
“Kung buong sambayanan siguro, mananawagan sa mga kapatid nating rebelde na magbalik-loob na sa lipunan para makapiling ang kanilang pamilya, mas malaki ang tiyansang mapauwi natin sila, lalo na ngayong Pasko,” Mapagu said. /kga
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