From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 1): 162 ex-rebels in Davao, Soccsksargen get P10.5-M financial aid
A total of 162 former communist rebels in Davao Region and Soccksargen received PHP10.53-million in financial assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) administered by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Officer in Charge Secretary Eduardo Año said the amount included the PHP15,000 immediate assistance given to each former rebel while their enrollment to E-CLIP is being processed and PHP50,000 for livelihood assistance.
“Gumugulong man o hindi ang pormal na usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng gobyerno at ng mga lider ng komunistang grupo ay tuloy po ang pagbibigay ng tulong sa mga rebeldeng nais magbalik sa normal at mapayapang buhay kasama ang kanilang mga pamilya (Whether the formal peace talks between the government and communist leaders are ongoing or not, we continue to give assistance to rebels who want to return to the government and live in peace with their families) ,” he said in press release issued Wednesday.
E-CLIP provides benefits and assistance to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CNN) and Militia ng Bayan, who express desire to abandon armed violence and become productive members of society, including their immediate family members. It also compensates and remunerates all turned-in firearms.
Año said the financial aid was distributed during separate awarding ceremonies for 45 former rebels in Mati City, Davao Oriental; 105 in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat Province; and 12 in Alabel, Sarangani.
Of the 162 beneficiaries, 58 also got firearms remuneration, which is an amount that is double the cost valuation of turned-in firearms, to provide additional fund for rehabilitation activities for them such as skills training, provision of shelter and legal assistance, among others.
Año said most of these former rebels are Indigenous Peoples (IPs) coming from the Blaan, Mandaya, Manobo, Mansaka, Tboli, Teduray, Bisaya, Kalagan and Ilonggo tribes.
“Nakakalungkot po dahil karaniwang pangunahing biktima ng mga komunista ay IPs na nagagambala ang tahimik na pamumuhay sa kanilang ancestral domains dahil sa pagtatago o pagkukubli ng mga rebelde sa kanilang komunidad na kalauna’y nagiging kampo o kuta na nila at nagreresulta sa displacement o pagbabakwit ng IPs (It saddens us that the victims of communists are IPs whose peaceful living in their ancestral domains have been inconvenienced after rebels made their communities lairs or camps. These resulted to the IPs displacement),” he said.
“Nananawagan kami sa IP communities na huwag kupkupin ang mga rebelde at huwag sumapi sa armadong kilusan. Idulog ninyo po ang inyong problema sa komunidad sa lokal o nasyunal na gobyerno (We are calling on the IP communities not to harbor rebels or join the armed movement . Report such problems in your communities to the local or national government),” he said.
Security for former rebels
According to the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 between the DILG and the Department of National Defense, other benefits and assistance given to former rebels include safety and security guarantees by a local government unit or the Philippine National Police, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The assistance is given from the time a former rebel surfaced, as well as support for relocation to better secure the former rebel and his or her family.
“Batid ng gobyerno na hindi madali para sa isang rebelde na sumuko dahil sa pangamba sa kanilang kaligtasan. Tinitiyak po ng gobyerno na hindi namin kayo pababayaan kaya huwag po kayong matakot. E-CLIP is time-bound with a clear exit strategy and adopts a total family approach (The government knows that it is not easy for a rebel to surrender for fear for their safety. The government makes sure that we will take care of you so you need not worry),” Año said.
E-CLIP is locally-driven, managed and implemented. Provinces and highly-urbanized cities (HUCs) are the focal point of authority and management of the integration of the program.
The former rebels and their family temporarily reside in a halfway house managed by a provincial or city government that serves as the processing center, where rehabilitation and healing sessions and education and skills training activities are being done.
The former rebels also get PhilHealth enrolment under the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan)-PhilHealth sponsored program with one-year validity and open for renewal.
Localized peace talks
In preparation for the planned localized peace talks, Año reiterates that DILG will construct more halfway houses for rebel surrenderers.
Recently issued DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-105 states the criteria in the selection and prioritization of provinces or HUCs each to be given PHP5-million financial support through E-CLIP for the construction of a halfway house.
Included in the criteria are highest number of enrolled former rebels; no existing halfway house or with halfway houses (not funded by the former CLIP and existing E-CLIP) that needs renovation or expansion; availability of donated lot or site to build the structure; and functional skills training programs, among others.
Año also earlier thanked leagues of local government units and elective officials such as League of Cities of the Philippines and the Philippine Councilor's League for expressing their willingness to play a more significant role in ending hostilities in their respective localities.