KIDAPAWAN CITY – A total of 21 former communist guerrillas and supporters who decided to return to the fold of the law are enjoying the fruit of their decision as they get remunerations from the government.
“I am glad that you were enlightened that it is only the government who can help you,” North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco told the former New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas during awarding ceremony in Magpet, North Cotabato on Monday afternoon.
The former NPA fighters and supporters operated in the mountains of North Cotabato have received financial assistance through the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.
Nine ex-NPAs got PHP65,000 cash assistance each while 12 former members of Militia ng Bayan got PHP15,000 each as an immediate livelihood package. All in all, the package was worth PHP765,000.
Ali Abdullah, provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, lauded the former rebels for “choosing the path to peace than waging a useless armed struggle.”
Brig. Gen. Potenciano Camba, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, also lauded the provincial government and the local leaders for supporting the government’s efforts to bring about peace in the community.
Ka Dodong, one of the beneficiaries, said he could hardly find words to describe how happy he was that his family would no longer worry that one day he will be among the casualties of war.
“I am now with my family before I have no time for them,” Dodong said in the vernacular as he received his check for assistance.
Catamco said the provincial government would continue working for the welfare of the NPA surrenderers.
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)