One hundred sixty-two former communist rebels in Davao Region and SOCCSKSARGEN received financial assistance amounting to P10.53-million through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) administered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año says the amount is the sum of P15,000 immediate assistance given to each former rebel while their enrolment to E-CLIP is being processed and P50,000 for livelihood assistance.
“Gumugulong man o hindi ang pormal na usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng gobyerno at ng mga lider ng komunistang grupo ay tuloy po ang pagbibigay ng tulong sa mga rebeldeng nais magbalik sa normal at mapayapang buhay kasama ang kanilang mga pamilya,” he says.
E-CLIP provides benefits and assistance to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CNN) and Militia ng Bayan who express desire to abandon armed violence and become productive members of society, including their immediate family members. It also compensates and remunerates all turned-in firearms.
Año says the financial assistance was distributed during separate awarding ceremonies for 45 former rebels in Mati City, Davao Oriental, 105 in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat Province, and 12 in Alabel, Sarangani.
Fifty-eight of these 162 beneficiaries also got firearms remuneration, which is an amount that is double the cost valuation of turned-in firearms, to provide additional fund for rehabilitation activities for them such as skills training, provision of shelter and legal assistance, among others.
The DILG Chief says that most of these former rebels are Indigenous Peoples (IP) coming from the Blaan, Mandaya, Manobo, Mansaka, Tboli, Teduray, Bisaya, Kalagan and Ilonggo tribes.
“Nakakalungkot po dahil karaniwang pangunahing biktima ng mga komunista ay IPs na
nagagambala ang tahimik na pamumuhay sa kanilang ancestral domains dahil sa pagtatago o pagkukubli ng mga rebelde sa kanilang komunidad na kalauna’y nagiging kampo o kuta na nila at nagreresulta sa displacement o pagbabakwit ng IPs,” he laments.
“Nananawagan kami sa IP communities na huwag kupkupin ang mga rebelde at huwag sumapi sa armadong kilusan. Idulog ninyo po ang inyong problema sa komunidad sa lokal o nasyunal na gobyerno,” he urges.
Security for former rebels
According to the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 between the DILG and the Department of National Defense, other benefits and assistance given to former CNN rebels include safety and security guarantees by a local government unit or Philippine National Police in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines from the time a former rebel has surfaced as well as support to relocation to better secure the former rebel and his or her family.
“Batid ng gobyerno na hindi madali para sa isang rebelde na sumuko dahil sa pangamba sa kanilang kaligtasan. Tinitiyak po ng gobyerno na hindi namin kayo pababayaan kaya huwag po kayong matakot. E-CLIP is time-bound with a clear exit strategy and adopts a total family approach,” Año assures.
E-CLIP is locally-driven, managed and implemented. Provinces and highly-urbanized cities (HUCs) are the focal point of authority and management of the integration of the program.
Former rebels and their family temporarily reside in a halfway house managed by a provincial or city government that serves as the processing center where rehabilitation and healing sessions and education and skills training activities are being done.
Former rebels also get PhilHealth enrolment under the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan)-PhilHealth sponsored program with one-year validity and open for renewal.
Localized peace talks
Moreover, in preparation for the planned localized peace talks, Año reiterates that DILG will construct more halfway houses for rebel surrenderers.
Recently issued DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-105 states the criteria in the selection and prioritization of provinces or HUCs each to be given P5-million financial support through E-CLIP for the construction of a halfway house.
Included in the criteria are highest number of enrolled former rebels; no existing halfway house or with halfway houses (not funded by the former CLIP and existing E-CLIP) that needs renovation or expansion; availability of donated lot or site to build the structure; and functional skills training programs, among others.
Año also earlier thanked leagues of local government units (LGUs) and elective officials such as League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) and the Philippine Councilor's League (PCL) for expressing their willingness to play a more significant role in ending hostilities in their respective localities.