KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Eighteen former New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas received on Thursday a total of PHP1.1 million worth of cash assistance for livelihood projects in exchange for firearms turned over to the government.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza said the amount was released to the beneficiaries during a Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting here.

The rebels decided to surrender after the communist movement failed to fulfill its promise of better life in the mountains.

Through the efforts of Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, led by its commander Lt. Colonel Harold Argamoza, the rebels surrendered in batches the past three months.

The socio-economic intervention is part of the mainstreaming program of the Duterte administration aimed at helping former combatants reclaim their normal lives. Each rebel returnee with guns received Php20, 000 livelihood assistance. (PNA)