DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año assured the rebel surrenderees of government assistance once they turn their backs on the communist group and decide to join society.
"That is the harsh truth. Walang pakialam ang NPA sa kapakanan ng kanilang mga miyembro. They are just mere dispensable pawns in the CPP-NPA-NDF’s senseless advocacy to overthrow the government through armed struggle," Año said in a statement on Friday, August 16.
"Sa pagbabalik ninyo sa inyong mga pamilya, nakatitiyak kayo na hindi kayo pababayaan ng ating pamahalaan," he added.
Año made the statement after "Alem", a former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel testified during a Senate inquiry on missing students Thursday, August 15, that he was recruited by the militant groups.
Alem, who surrendered to the government in 2018 along with her husband, who was also a former member of the communist rebels, said she was recruited initially as a member of the League of Filipino students in 2014 and was later on enticed to join the NPA.
She narrated how the group abandoned her family particularly when she got pregnant and gave birth. They also did not get assistance when her child got sick.
"Sinubukan kong kumontak sa kanila dahil manganganak ako, kahit piso wala akong natanggap. Porke umalis na kami sa organisasyon at wala na silang pakinabang sa amin dahil pinili namin ito, pinabayaan na nila kami. Wala silang naitulong sa amin," Alem said.
Año said Alem is a living proof of the communist group’s deceitfulness and lies.
“Mga estudyante pa lamang ang mga ito nung na-recruit nila, sinira nila ang kinabukasan. Now that they decide to return to the fold of the law, we will guarantee that they will not feel abandoned,” he said.
Over 2,129, including 1,505 NPA and 624 militia ng bayan, have surrendered to the government.
The DILG secretary expressed confidence that with the government’s programs, many more NPA members will be surrendering to the government and will choose to be part of the mainstream society.
He said the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-clip) will ensure that all former rebels (FRs) will be granted assistance that can help them somehow regain the years in the mountains that the NPA have taken from them.
Under the E-clip grant, former rebels or their qualified beneficiaries are entitled to the following benefits: guaranteed safety and security; monetary assistance such as a P50,000 as livelihood assistance, P21,000 for meals cost and P15,000 per for mobilization expenses; and firearms remuneration amounting to the value of turned-in firearms, among others.
Año said in 2020, a total of P121 million for E-clip was requested from DBM in order to further encourage current rebels who wish to cut ties with the communist-terrorist group and live a normal life. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)