A TOTAL of 74 members of the New People's Army (NPA) have returned to the fold of the law since January of this year.
10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza bared this during the Armed Forces of the Philippine-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) press corps at the Task Force Davao headquarters Thursday.
Paniza said the total of number of those who surrendered for the first five months of this year is a good indication that this year's total may increase compared to last year's total which is 186.
"Naga-expect mi na mas daghan ang musurreder this year labi na nga naa na ang Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP). Initially, ang CLIP nagahatag ug P15,000 nga immediate assistance. Makadawat pud sila ug P50,000 worth of livelihood program (We are expecting that there will be an increase in the number of those who surrendered this year especially that there is already the CLIP. Initially, CLIP offers P15,000 immediate assistance. They will also receive P50,000 worth of livelihood program)," Paniza said.
The rebel returnees who will be benefiting from the CLIP will be monitored by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for three years to ensure that the former communist rebels are well equipped to become contributing members of the society.
The army official also said those rebel returnees who will be surrendering firearms will also be receiving cash incentives as part of the AFP project called the Guns for Peace.
Paniza added that the number of surrenderees can be attributed to their Peace and Development Outreach Program.
"Aside from reaching out to the barangay officials for their surrender, our Peace and Development Teams (PDTs) have already established trust among the rebels so some of them go directly to these military personnel to facilitate their surrender," Paniza said.
Commander of the 69th Infantry Battalion Lt. Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, who was also guest at the AFP-PNP press corps, said: "Naging role na din ng PDTs ang mag-facilitate ng mga surrender ng mga returnees. Sila na din ang nag-assist sa pagproseso ng CLIP (Facilitating the surrenders of rebel returnees have become an added role for the PDTs. They also assist the processing of the CLIP for the surrenderees)."
He said they are coordinating with DSWD to determine the right livelihood programs for the rebel returnees.