Forty-two former Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Negros Occidental received cash aid of PHP30,000 each from the provincial government as immediate assistance to start their integration into the mainstream society.
In a statement on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), said the financial aid shows that “the government is serious about giving former rebels a chance to start a new and peaceful life”.
The recipients, all former combatants and members of the NPA’s Central Negros 2 who surrendered to the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) in the past months, received checks in rites led by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson at the Provincial Capitol lobby here on Monday.
“Your decision to support the government is a big help to make Negros Occidental insurgency-free. The Philippine Army has done its part, it is now the responsibility of the local government to continue giving you assistance,” Lacson said.
He said the provincial government also offers educational scholarships to children of former rebels and to the surrenderers themselves who want to go back to school.
Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade, acknowledged the continued support of the provincial government to the former rebels, whom he said were victims of the propaganda and lies of the CPP-NPA and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“This is solid evidence that the local government of Negros Occidental is sincere in its commitment to help former rebels start anew, live normal lives again, and unite with their families,” he said.
Edralin, who witnessed the turnover of assistance with Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, commander of 94IB, urged anew the remaining NPA rebels in Negros Island to surrender peacefully like their former comrades.
Also during the ceremony, 15 members of Kapatiran para sa Progresibong Panlipunan each received a head of carabao as livelihood assistance.
They were former members of Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano Group, a breakaway group of the CPP-NPA-NDF, which entered into a peace agreement with the national government. (PNA)