This National Peace Consciousness Month, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año calls on communists to leave the life of rebellion and be reintegrated to normal, productive living with expanded benefits and assistance from the government’s Task Force Balik-Loob.
“With or without peace talks, the government is able and sincere in assisting former rebels and their families to be back to mainstream society safely and conveniently,” he says.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Administrative Order No. 10 series of 2018, which created the Task Force, specifies additional benefits to former rebels such as housing assistance or housing unit from the National Housing Authority.
They also get a monthly modified conditional cash transfer after being referred by a Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for enrollment in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Former rebels also get livelihood materials or employment assistance through referral to government agencies or private companies.
They can get a loan with minimal interest rate without collateral in order to start a business and be given ‘market access assistance’ for their products to be brought closer to customers.
The Task Force Balik-Loob also taps the Department of Justice - Public Attorney's Office for free legal assistance should a former rebel need it.
As for those who wish to pursue schooling, they may be enrolled in the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System and be given certification of completion of elementary or high school education. Their spouse or children can also get matriculation and stipend for their college studies.
“The government does not give up on its people from whom its power and mandate emanate. And as President Duterte said, ‘we cannot fight a war against our own people,’” Año points out.
Benefits to former rebels now also cover medical assistance package provided by the Department of Health (DoH) including physical examination, immunization and vaccination, and support to hospitalization for the duration of enrollment in the reintegration program.
The Task Force Balik-Loob oversees the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), the government’s flagship program for its reintegration effort for former rebels. National government agencies coordinate with their regional, provincial, and municipal offices as well as local government units (LGUs) for the implementation of the program.
Año says the E-CLIP is “truly an enhanced and comprehensive” integration program for former rebels.
E-CLIP standard benefits
The Task Force has also now specified that the safety and security for former rebels is for the period of three years while enrolled in E-CLIP. It is guaranteed by the LGU and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Standard E-CLIP benefits that have been given to more than hundreds of beneficiaries are P15,000 immediate assistance per former rebel for mobilization expenses while his or her enrollment in the program is being done; a P50,000 livelihood assistance; and firearms remuneration.
Local Social Welfare and Development Officers (LSWDOs) also facilitate former rebels’ registration of birth and marriage certificates and issuance of identification cards (ID), such as postal and voter's ID. The expenses that may be incurred in this process shall be covered by the receiving unit such as an LGU.
A receiving unit gets support in the amount of P21,000 per former rebel to defray the subsistence or meals cost while in their custody and other incidental expenses.
They are transferred from a receiving unit to a ‘halfway house’ house managed by a provincial or city government that serves as the processing center where rehabilitation and healing sessions as well as education and skills training activities are being done. A separate room or facility shall be provided for individual women former rebels.
Former rebels also get PhilHealth enrollment under the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan)-PhilHealth sponsored program with one-year validity and open for renewal.
Ensuring effective E-CLIP
In order to update the knowledge and skills of program implementers at the regional and provincial level, the DILG through the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO) is conducting a series of orientation workshops to discuss updates and the new guidelines to ensure the effective implementation of the program.
It will gather all program implementers from the PNP, AFP, DILG provincial offices and the DILG Regional E-CLIP focal persons.
The participants are clustered into six batches that will be completed this September. The first batch is composed of participants from Cordillera Administrative Region, National Capital Region, and Ilocos Region. Second batch from Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON. Third batch covers MIMAROPA, Bicol Region, and Western Visayas. These clusters have been conducted while others are to follow.
The fourth batch is from Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and Zamboanga Peninsula. Fifth batch covers Northern Mindanao and Davao Region while the last batch is from SOCCSKSARGEN and CARAGA.
Moreover, E-CLIP Committees (ECCs) at the provincial and highly-urbanized city (HUC) level shall be created through the issuance of an Executive Order by the Provincial Governor or HUC Mayor, who will chair the ECC and to be co-chaired by the AFP commanding officer of the Brigade. It is composed of representatives from the LSWDO, DILG Provincial or HUC office, PNP, and a civil society organization, which is a member of the provincial or HUC Peace and Order Council.