Friday, March 27, 2020

Army exec tells ex-NPAs to embrace new lives, move on

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 27, 2020): Army exec tells ex-NPAs to embrace new lives, move on (By Alexander Lopez)

MOVE ON. Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina, Jr., commander of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion, tells former communist rebels who completed their de-radicalization process on Thursday to apply the learnings they acquired. The de-radicalization program aims to prepare the former guerillas before their reintegration to their families and communities. (PNA file photo by Alexander Lopez)

A total of 24 former communist rebels recently completed the eight-day de-radicalization program organized by the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion with the support of the group, People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment (PeACE).

The former rebels surrendered to the Army between the months of January until March this year due to the hardships they encountered in the hinterlands while with the New People’s Army (NPA),
said Lt. Col. Francisco L. Molina Jr., 23IB commander.

“I told them that I am optimistic they will succeed in life after choosing the right path of returning to their families and communities,” Molina told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday.

He said the former rebels are in the process of availing of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government.

Molina called on the former insurgents to "embrace new lives and move on" after the de-radicalization program and the release of livelihood support through the ECLIP.
“Just keep moving on, giving your best, applying what you've learned, you will surely reap a harvest of your efforts. Our government is hell-bent in extending its help because it doesn't want anyone to be left behind,” Molina said.

He said the former rebels who availed of the program last year "are now happily reunited with their families and communities."

Some even opted to join the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through the Army or the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), he said.

Molina also expressed gratitude to Ms. Agnes Lopez Reaño, the national president of PeACE who helped the former rebels get a new lease on life.

Reaño served as the facilitator and instructor of the de-radicalization process with the aim of preparing the FRs for reintegration and mainstreaming to their respective communities, and encourage them to pursue their dreams and have a brighter future.

In a statement issued Thursday, 23IB quoted a former rebel as saying in the dialect: "Through this program, I fully understood what true discipline is. I really felt that we are transformed holistically especially our characters. I learned that what the NPA has inputted in our minds are all lies and deception.”

Another former guerilla, alias “Jorge” said he will utilize fully the livelihood assistance to improve the living conditions of his family and for the future of his children.

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