The Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 has released some Php160,000 in cash grants to 16 former New People’s Army (NPA) members who surrendered late last month in Sultan Kudarat province.
Supt. Romeo Galgo, PRO-12 public information officer, said Tuesday they handed out Php10,000 each to the returnees as part of an assistance package for their surrender and for yielding firearms in the process.
He said they released the grants during the regular flag-raising ceremony on Monday at the regional police headquarters here.
“The financial assistance is part of the thrusts of PRO-12 to address the immediate needs of our returnees,” he said.
The official said the move is also in line with their mandate as well as mission and vision as deliverers of peace and order.
Galgo said the 16 returnees separately yielded to PRO-12 personnel last Oct. 27 and 28 in Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat.
He said the former rebels were previously under a field unit of the NPA’s Front 72, which is operating in the hinterlands of Sultan Kudarat and
South Cotabato provinces.
Chief Supt. Manolito Labador, acting Region 12 police director, said they pushed for the release of the cash assistance to help the former rebels cope with various burdens as they try to lead normal lives with their families.
“These assistance would give the returnees a chance to breathe in a better atmosphere, thereby making them feel totally free,” he said in a statement.
He reiterated that PRO-12 remains committed to the advocacy of freedom and respect for human rights, especially in the campaign against insurgency.
“We’re not treating our returnees as enemies of the government but as victims of wrong ideologies,” Labador stressed.
The 16 returnees are currently undergoing evaluation for their inclusion in the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).
CLIP reintegrates former rebels into the social mainstream and uplifts their socio-economic conditions to enable them to become active partners in the local development.
The program also seeks to contribute towards the achievement of the goal of permanent peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups.
Under the program, rebel returnees could avail of livelihood assistance ranging from P5,000 to Php50,000.