From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 18, 2020): Former rebels get food aid in Agusan Norte (By Alexander Lopez)
AID TO EX-REBELS. Silver Joy Tejano (left), OIC-chief of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office in Agusan del Norte, leads the distribution of rice and other food supplies to 22 former communist rebels at the headquarters of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, on Friday. Twenty-three other former rebels received similar aid at the headquarters of the Army's 29th Infantry Battalion in Cabadbaran City. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)
BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – Former communist rebels and their families, who are affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), received food assistance Friday as part of the government's initiative to ease the impact of the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Agusan del Norte said most of the recipients are former rebels who are staying with their families in various Army camps in the province.
Silver Joy Tejano, PSWDO-Agusan del Norte OIC-chief, told the Philippine News Agency Friday that each of the New People's Army (NPA) surrenderers received a sack of rice and food packs of canned goods and noodles.
At the headquarters of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion in Buenavista town, 22 former NPA fighters received food assistance, while 23 former rebels also received the same aid at the headquarters of the Army's 29th Infantry Battalion in Cabadbaran City.
Tejano said 10 former rebels temporarily living in the headquarters of Police Regional Office-13 in Butuan City also received food assistance.
“The aid will ensure their food supply up to three months,” Tejano said.
1st Lt. Roel Maglalang, 23IB civil-military operations officer, thanked the PSWDO-Agusan del Norte "for the prompt response to our request."
“The movement of our FRs (former rebels), especially in going to markets, is also restricted due to the implementation of ECQs. These supplies will ensure food for their families here,” Maglalang said.
Lt. Col. Francisco Molina Jr., 23IB commander, noted the increase in the number of NPA surrenderers in the province since the start of the year.
“While we are providing security support to our front-liners in the fight against Covid-19, the Army still continues to perform its main task of securing the communities in Agusan del Norte against the terroristic activities of the New People’s Army (NPA),” Molina said.
Recently, seven more NPA combatants have surrendered to 23IB because "they could no longer withstand the hardships they experience, particularly hunger.”
“This support from the PSWDO of Agusan del Norte will help us sustain the needs of our FRs while the livelihood assistance intended for them are still being processed,” Molina said.