BALER, Aurora – Some four former members of the New People's Army (NPA) on Wednesday received livelihood assistance as part of the government’s efforts to help them start a new life and become productive members of society.
During an awarding ceremony held in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija, each former rebel received PHP20,000 under the sustainable livelihood program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, commander of the Philippine Army's 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, said the program aims to improve the economic well-being of vulnerable, marginalized, and disadvantaged individuals and families in communities by empowering them through the support of the local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies.
Rubio said the DSWD is one of the lead agencies implementing President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 70, which institutionalized the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
“The SLP is related to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) by the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) which has a holistic package of benefits that former rebels could avail of, including livelihood and medical assistance, education, housing, and legal assistance, to help them reintegrate to our society,” he said.
Rubio expressed hope that the initial financial assistance would give the former rebels peace of mind as they return to leading a normal life in mainstream society.
Bongabon Mayor Allan Xystus A. Gamilla extended his full support to the program of the 91st IB and DSWD, saying it is part of the government’s efforts to end communist insurgency through the attainment of just and lasting peace utilizing the whole-of-nation approach as envisioned by EO 70.
“The assistance is intended for conflict-affected and vulnerable areas, including our former rebels to help them start their livelihood as they begin their new life with their families,” Gamilla said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-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)