DILG: More than 1,000 Red surrenderees given financial aid
MANILA, Philippines — More than a thousand communist rebel surrenderees have received financial assistance from the government, as members of the communist movement also continue to record a “sharp decline,” the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday.
The 1,117 beneficiaries of the government’s financial assistance are former members of the communist movement who have surrendered to the government from July 2016, or the time President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office until December 21, 2018.
The DILG said the surenderees benefited from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), one of the main components of the inter-agency Task Force Balik Loob Program of the government for the communist rebels.
“Lives are being changed by the E-CLIP program. With more than a thousand former rebels who have received financial assistance last year, we hope that their testimonies will serve as an encouragement for more communist rebels to surrender,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
According to DILG, most or 361 beneficiaries are from the Davao Region, followed by Soccsksargen with 166, and Caraga with 149 beneficiaries.
With these numbers, Año said the facts on the ground cannot be disputed and that only Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), refuses to accept the truth.
“We must remember that Joma is a master propagandist. He will twist facts to suit his own reality. Hindi niya kasi matanggap na nagtatagumpay ang programa ng gobyerno para sa mga rebelde at maraming rebelde na ang gustong magbagong-buhay,” he said.
E-CLIP provides former rebels with 15,000 cash assistance, P50,000 livelihood assistance, compensation for surrendered firearms, psycho-social support, skills training, shelter, and other forms of aid such as legal, employment and medical assistance, the agency said.
The DILG has disbursed around P488 million for the program in 2018 and will be allocating another P260 million this year.
“The success of E-CLIP is proof of the government’s sincerity to achieve lasting and meaningful peace throughout the country. Rest assured that the government will continue this whole-of-nation approach to negotiating terms with the local rebels as well as ending local communist armed conflict in the country,” Año said.
Meanwhile, 34 provinces and cities were also given financial assistance amounting to a total of P170 million for the construction of halfway houses as of December 19, 2018.
Halfway houses serve as temporary shelters for the rehabilitation and healing sessions of former rebels, the DILG said. /muf
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