E-CLIP BENEFICIARIES. Brig. Gen. Roberto Capulong (right), the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade commander, welcomes one of the former combatants of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters back to the mainstream society after he and 21 others have completed the initial phase of the reintegration program inside Camp Lucero, the brigade's headquarters in Carmen, North Cotabato on Feb. 26, 2020. President Rodrigo Duterte has expanded the coverage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) by including former violent extremists as its new beneficiaries. (Photo courtesy of 602nd IBde)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has expanded the coverage of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to include former violent extremists as its beneficiaries.

Duterte on March 18 signed Administrative Order (AO) 25, which amends AO (10) he signed on April 3, 2018, that only entitles former communist rebels to benefits provided under the program.

“There is a need to expand the coverage of the E-CLIP to facilitate the reintegration to civilian life of other rebels who have similarly chosen to lay down their arms and become productive and law-abiding members of society,” he said in AO 25.

AO 25 mandates the national government to pursue “genuine” reintegration of former rebels and former violent extremists by providing a complete package of assistance specifically tailored to their needs and those of their respective communities.

The package of assistance applies to former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing New People's Army, and its political wing National Democratic Front.

Former members of the Abu Sayaff Group, Maute Group, and other violent extremist groups that will be identified as qualified beneficiaries can also avail of the government’s assistance.

Under the E-CLIP grant, qualified beneficiaries are entitled to guaranteed safety and security; cash assistance like PHP50,000 livelihood assistance, PHP21,000 for meals costs, and PHP15,000 for mobilization expenses; and firearms remuneration amounting to the value of turned-in firearms.

AO 25 also directs the national government to centralize all government efforts to reintegrate former communist rebels and former violent extremists by intensifying the convergence of various government programs such as E-CLIP and PAMANA program, with due regard to the individual needs of their families and the community.

PAMANA (PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn) is a national government convergence program that provides development assistance like infrastructure projects and livelihood packages to remote, conflict-affected communities across the country.

Duterte’s new AO also adds the Department of Social Welfare of Development and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Local Extremist Groups Concerns as new members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the reintegration of former rebels and violent extremists.

Existing members of the Task Force Balik Loob (TFBL), chaired by the Department of National Defense, include the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Office of the President (OP), National Housing Authority, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process.

The AO allows the TFBL to invite other representatives of government agencies who have a rank not lower than an Assistant Secretary.

“The Task Force shall organize and designate the heads of two clusters that shall focus on (former rebels) and (former violent extremists), respectively,” it said.

The task force is mandated to design and implement a holistic assistance package or intervention programs; review and update the Strategic Communication Plan; and monitor, evaluate, and address implementation issues of the reintegration efforts at the national and local levels.

It is also directed to coordinate and call upon the assistance and cooperation of all concerned government agencies or instrumentalities, local government units (LGUs), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as well as private or non-government entities, organizations, and groups.

The AO also tasks the TFBL to prepare a bi-annual report that should be submitted to OP, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, on the implementation of the reintegration efforts.

The funding requirement necessary for the implementation of AO 25 will be charged against the existing appropriations for the E-CLIP under the General Appropriations Act, as well as the respective budgets of the concerned agencies, and other sources that may be identified by the Budget department.

“Failure to comply with this Order shall result in the filing of appropriate administrative cases pursuant to the Civil Service Commission Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, the Local Government Code, as amended, and other relevant laws, rules, and regulations,” the order read.

AO 25 also directs the DILG to take appropriate action against local chief executives of erring LGUs identified by the TFBL.

It also orders the DOJ to investigate and prosecute public officials and employees involved in any irregularity and corruption in implementing the reintegration efforts.

The TFBL is mandated to issue the revised implementing rules and regulations of AO 10 within 30 days from the effectivity of AO 25.

“Except as expressly modified by this Order, all other provisions of AO No. 10 shall remain in full force and effect,” the new order read. “All orders, rules and regulations, issuances, or any part thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Order, are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.”

AO 25, which was released by the Palace, takes effect immediately. (PNA)