SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – A woman from this province, who left the New People's Army (NPA) after being a member for 19 years, has personally experienced the genuine program of the Duterte administration in ending the local communist armed conflict through the “whole-of-nation” approach.
"Joy" (not her real name), one of the 35 rebels in Antique who gave up their armed struggle and embraced a new life under the wings of the government, said on Tuesday the assistance she received from various government agencies enabled her to start a new life as she reunited with her family.
Of the 35 rebel returnees, 25 have the Joint Philippine National Police-Armed Forces of the Philippines Intelligence Certificate (JPIC), proof that they have no pending cases in court and eligible to receive assistance from the government.
“Through the whole-of-nation, I felt the genuineness of the government in assisting me as I start my new life,” Joy said in an interview.
Now 38 years old, Joy was with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA for 19 years until she surrendered on August 5, 2020.
A native of Capiz, she opted to surrender in the municipality of Sebaste in this province as she felt “safer” with the town’s municipal police station.
In December of 2020, she received PHP10,000 from the provincial government under the Aid to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).
Last April 8, she was given PHP20,000 under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the money she used to buy a carabao.
“I bought a carabao, which I am renting to other farmers in our community to till their lands,” she said.
With the PHP450 daily rental, she was able to have an income she then uses to send her children to school.
Only last month, she received the PHP21,000 reintegration assistance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and PHP15,000 immediate assistance from the Antique provincial government under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
Joy used the money as capital to start her small sari-sari store in Capiz.
The former rebel said she was thankful to the local officials of Antique for convincing her that “the government is here to support”.
Joy is now waiting for her inclusion to the emergency employment under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
James Rubino of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) said 19 of the 25 with JPIC have already received the assistance.
He added that the 18 other surrenderers who had been assisted already have livelihood projects.
Meanwhile, he said the remaining six former rebels as well as 10 others whose JPIC is also being processed, will also receive assistance from the DSWD and the DILG in the coming days.
Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte also known as the "whole-of-nation" approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace is aimed to end the local communist armed conflict.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)