Over 4,000 former rebels and militia ng bayan were provided with a total of P304.43-million in financial and other assistance for the past three years through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
According to DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, many rebels and militia ng bayan went down from the mountains during the ECQ and they are now being processed by government. “Nung panahon ng ECQ, madami sa mga nasa bundok ay nagsibabaan dahil napag-isip-isip nila na wala ng kahihinatnan ang kanilang patay na adhikain,” he said.
The DILG-administered E-CLIP provides each qualified rebel surrenderer with immediate financial assistance of P15,000, livelihood assistance of P50,000, and reintegration assistance of P21,000. Firearms remuneration is also given for each surrendered firearm.
“Kahit sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi tumigil ang pamahalaan sa pagyakag sa ating mga kapatid na naligaw ng landas na talikuran na ang kanilang maling ideolohiya at magbagong-buhay. Patunay lamang ito ng tunay na pagmamalasakit at busilak na pagnanais ng pamahalaan na magkaroon ng kapayapaan,” he said.
He called on the rebels to continue to come down and join mainstream society. “Panahon na para bumaba na kayo at makipagtulungan kayo sa pamahalaan. Nakahanda kayong tulungan ng DILG,” he said.
Of the P304.43-million in total assistance, P58.845-million was in the form of immediate assistance to 3,923 former rebels (FRs), P121.250-million represents livelihood assistance to 2,426 FRs, P57.217-million was for firearms remuneration of 858 FRs, and P67.116-million was given as reintegration assistance to 3,196 FRs.
Of the 4,190 ECLIP beneficiaries as of May 31, 2020, 2,646 of them were regular members of the New People’s Army (NPA) while 1,544 were militia ng bayan. The militia ng bayan are auxiliary members of the Communist Party of the Philippines who assist the NPA plant bombs or stage ambuscades of government forces.
E-CLIP is a locally-driven, managed, and implemented program which veers away from the past practice of pre-packaged interventions designed at the national level. With the Province or Highly Urbanized City (P/HUC) as the focal authority, the program responds to the circumstances, needs and concerns of former rebels in a sustainable and consistent manner.
Año said that the government efforts of assisting former rebels are heavily concentrated in Mindanao because the bulk of the NPA forces are now there, particularly Davao Region with 1,035 beneficiaries; Northern Mindanao with 498 beneficiaries, Caraga with 496 beneficiaries; SOCSKSARGEN with 370 beneficiaries; and Zamboanga Peninsula with 159 beneficiaries.
In Luzon, the Department also granted E-CLIP assistance to 245 beneficiaries in Bicol Region, 203 in MIMAROPA, 174 in Central Luzon, 179 in Cordillera Administrative Region, 101 in Cagayan Valley, 27 in Ilocos Region, and seven in National Capital Region.
In Visayas, there were 349 ECLIP beneficiaries in Eastern Visayas; 121 in Western Visayas, and 72 in Central Visayas.
Año hopes that as the country transitions to the new normal, more and more former rebels will finally find in their hearts to give up their armed struggle and avail of the E-CLIP assistance packages offered by the government during the Duterte administration.
Under E-CLIP, the DILG also provided 38 local government units with financial assistance of P5-million for the construction of halfway houses which will serve as a temporary shelter for former rebels while their documents as beneficiaries of the government’s E-CLIP are being processed. Halfway houses also serve as training facility for the FRs.
So far, four LGUs have completed the construction of their halfway houses, namely Davao Oriental, Occidental Mindoro, Agusan del Sur, and Surigao del Norte. The halfway houses of 8 LGUs, namely Apayao, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Quirino, Camarines Norte, Misamis Occidental, Davao del Norte and Agusan del Norte are now ongoing construction. Meanwhile, 26 LGUs are in the bidding and procurement stage.
Among the rebel surrenderers assisted by the Department through the ECLIP are Alyas “Cardo,” a 49-year-old resident of Tubungan who was a high-ranking officer of NPA’s Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay and Fausto Musngi Daprosa, an NPA member of Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay.