Two former rebels who surrendered to the 53rd Infantry (Matapat) Battalion, Philippine Army in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur are now full-time military personnel and CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) member.
Aka Arnold, 23, of Don Victoriano, Misamis Occidental who yielded to the government in 2013 is now an Army private while aka Jeffrey, 37, of Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur who surrendered in 1996 is a CAA member.
Never regretted his decision
In an interview with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), aka Arnold said he never regretted his decision to return to the fold of law.
“Wala ko nagmahay sa akong deisisyon nga mobalik sa sabakan sa balaod tungod kay ang atong kagamhanan pinaagi ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte matinud-anon pag-ayo pagpatuman sa mga programa alang sa mga rebelde (I have never regretted my decision to return to the folds of the law because our government thru President Rodrigo Duterte is very sincere in implementing the program for the rebels),” aka Arnold proudly said.
Aka Arnold, a squad leader of Sectoral Command-SENDONG of the Western Mindanao Revolutionary Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army-National Democratic Front operating in the hinterlands of the Mt. Malindang Ranges and Misamis Occidental voluntarily surrendered to the 53rd IB in 2015 and yielded two M16 armalite rifle, and one AK-47 rifle. He received P148,000.00, remuneration for surrendered firearms under the E-CLIP program.
A great help to his family
He said the cash assistance and remuneration that he received from the government was a great help to his family adding that he used it in funding the college education of his younger brothers and sisters. He also acquired a multi-cab vehicle, bought a small farm lot and supported his poor parents.
He also said he did not expect that he will become a regular member of the Philippine Army.
“I took the Army qualifying exam and luckily, I passed. Immediately, I applied at the AFP and I was accepted,” aka Arnold happily announced.
Grateful to the government
Meanwhile, aka Jeffrey, a former squad leader of Sectoral Command KARA of the Western Regional Party Committee, said he is grateful to the government for allowing him to be a recipient of the E-CLIP program saying that at the time of his surrender, he received cash assistance of P65,000.00.
“I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by the government. They allowed me to serve as CAA member in the battalion since 2003 up to present,” he said.
Aka Jeffrey receives a monthly allowance of P4,500 and other benefits.
“With the benefits that I receive, I am able to help my poor parents,” aka Jeffrey said.
Aka Jonathan said they are the living testament of the government’s sincerity in the implementation of E-CLIP program. "With our real life experiences, we have proved that our government is really honest and sincere,” he quoted.
“Sa akong mga kauban sa bukid, mohangyo ko ninyo nga manaug aron mausab ang inyong kinabuhi ug magpuyo kamo nga malinawon ug malipayon uban sa inyong mga mahal sa kinabuhi. Pahimusli ninyo ning talagsaon kaayo nga programa sa gobyerno sanglit dili pa ulahi ang tanan (To my comrades in the mountains, I am appealing to you to come down to change your life and to live peacefully and happily with your loved ones since it is not yet too late),” he concluded.
Giving chances to CPP-NPA
LtCol. Marlowe Patria, commanding officer of the 53rd IB said the government gives more chances to CPP-NPA terrorists members who are willing to surrender, lay down their arms and embrace peaceful life in the mainstream society. (ALT/GCC/PIA-Zamboanga del Sur)