The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) condemns the killing of a member of the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) who was participating in the Brigada Eskwela program in La Paz, Agusan Del Sur by alleged combatants of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Citing reports from the Philippine Army, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that Felipe Amado, 42, was participating in the Brigada Eskwela activity in Lydia Elementary School last May 30 when he was murdered by five NPA members in Comota-Lydia Village Road in the town of La Paz.
Off-duty from his CAFGU obligations, Amado, together with a companion, was on board a motorcycle headed back from the village after getting nipa leaves to be used for the construction of a temporary classroom when they were targeted by the said armed men.
"The victim was doing his share for the Brigada Eskwela program when he was shot. Talagang wala ng pinipiling pagkakataon ang NPA basta makapatay lang ng puwersa ng gobyerno. Acts like this are typical of a classic NPA move, right on their lane, in their playbook," Año says.
The Brigada Eskwela led by the Department of Education brings together all education stakeholders to participate and contribute their time, effort, and resources to prepare public school facilities for the of the school year in June every year.
Año says that the killing of the CAFGU member is a total disregard to life and "clearly demonstrates NPA's lack of genuine aspiration towards lasting peace for the Filipino people."
"Paano ka naman maniniwala na ipinaglalaban ng NPA ang kapakanan ng ating bansa kung walang awa nilang pinaslang ang kababayan natin na tumutulong sa Brigada Eskwela? Ganyan ba ang sinasabi ninyong kapayapaan?” he retorts.
The DILG Chief calls on the NPA to surrender and “wake up from their hallucinations and twisted ideology” to join the people and the government in the march towards a better Philippines.
“Hindi pa huli ang lahat. Gumising na kayo mula sa bangungot at sumuko na kayo. Kung talagang mahal ninyo ang bansa, bumaba na kayo sa kabundukan at makiisa sa gawaing pangkapayapaan,” he says.
He urges NPA leaders to engage with their local chief executives for localized peace talks which is the government’s way of reaching out to them and helping them lead peaceful lives.
“We have not lost hope on you (NPA). Naligaw lang kayo ng landas at nilinlang ng mga kapartido ninyo. Tutulungan namin kayong bumalik sa pamilya ninyo at magbagong-buhay,” he says.
The DILG Chief says the government’s Expanded Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) grants former rebels or their qualified beneficiaries to a wide array of benefits ranging from guaranteed safety and security and monetary assistance such as P15,000 immediate assistance, P50,000 livelihood assistance, P21,000 reintegration assistance, firearms remuneration for their turned-in firearms, and legal and housing assistance, among others.
As of March 1, 2019, a total of 1,705 FRs from all regions in the country received E-CLIP financial assistance with a cumulative amount of P192-million.