Año: Reintegration assistance ready for Reds who will lay down arms

With the revival of peace talks with the CPP-NDF-NPA, Department of the Interior and Local Government OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano assures the public that the DILG is ready to assist rebels who would lay down their arms. More than 2,000 former rebels have been assisted through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the DILG.

“The E-CLIP of the DILG is an investment for peace. It is the government’s way of opening its arms to former rebels and assisting them to return to normal, productive, and law-abiding way of life,” says Ano.

Just recently the President approved the release of almost half a billion pesos to support the E-CLIP, enough to support the more than 1,000 expected surrenderees for this year.

"We call on the families, relatives and friends of rebels to help us convince them to go down from the mountains and take this life-changing opportunity," he says.

For the past three years, the DILG has provided financial assistance to hundreds of former communist rebels who have returned to mainstream society. A total of P59.68-million has been utilized for immediate assistance to 471 former rebels, while 459 got livelihood assistance, 361 with reintegration assistance, and 132 were given firearm renumeration.

As of December 31, 2017, there are 2,082 former communist rebels enrolled in CLIP. 1,357 are in Mindanao, 448 in Luzon, and 277 in Visayas.

“I share the sentiment of the President that I hope this time the Communists will not waste this opportunity. Let this be THE peace talks that will lead to a peaceful, progressive Philippines. No more death of peace talks, no more people dying,” he points out.

The DILG Chief also assures full cooperation in the Task Force Balik-Loob created by the President through Administrative Order No. 10 to integrate government’s rebel-returnee assistance programs namely the DILG’s E-CLIP and Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP)’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) program.

“The creation of the Task Force Balik-Loob signifies the administration’s genuine sincerity, readiness, and resolve to end this decades-old conflict. We make change happen and it is now,” says the former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff.

The E-CLIP facilitates the mainstreaming of former NPA rebels and Militia ng Bayan as productive citizens. The program also compensates and remunerates all turned-in firearms.

A former rebel gets an immediate assistance in the amount of P15,000 for mobilization expenses, livelihood assistance in the amount of P50,000, skills training, shelter and legal assistance, among others.

A financial assistance amounting to P5-million is provided per local government unit (LGU) for the construction of a halfway house which is a facility for former rebels that will house him/her while awaiting his/her enrolment to E-CLIP and shall serve as a venue in conducting rehabilitation and healing sessions, and education and skills training activities.

Forty-five million pesos has been spent on construction of halfway houses for rebel-surrenderees in nine provinces: Kalinga and Mountain Province, Masbate, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato.