REWARD. A former rebel receives a check from Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone on Thursday (August 4, 2022). The insurgent got PHP676,000 cash assistance for yielding eight firearms to the government in 2021. (Photo courtesy of Radyo Pilipinas Borongan)

TACLOBAN CITY – A former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Samar received PHP676,000 cash assistance for yielding eight firearms to the government last year.

The Eastern Samar provincial government and the Philippine Army 78th Infantry Battalion led the handing over of the financial aid on Thursday as part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Lt. Col Allan Tria, Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion commander, said on Friday the former rebel identified as alias Ega of General MacArthur, Eastern Samar has been rewarded for turning over six M16 rifles and two M14 rifles.

“He voluntarily surrendered on June 20, 2021, along with several firearms, but it took time to award the cash assistance since we have to go through the process of checking the firearms, including their conditions,” Tria said in an interview with reporters.

"Ega" was an assistant squad leader of the NPA in Eastern Samar before yielding to the military.

The former rebel received some PHP825,646 from the government since his surrender in 2021.

Tria is optimistic that the giving of cash rewards would encourage other rebels to surrender and turn over their firearms used in armed struggle.

Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone said the provincial government has asked PHP6 million from the Office of the President to provide cash assistance to all recent rebel returnees.

“I am happy that more former rebels have realized to abandon the communist ideology. We encourage the remaining NPA members to surrender, stop hiding, and help develop our communities,” Evardone said.

The E-CLIP is a flagship program of the national government to help members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), and Militia ng Bayan to return to the government fold.

Under this program, each former rebel receives PHP15,000 as immediate cash assistance, and PHP50,000 livelihood assistance as well as remuneration for every firearm they will bring along during their surrender.

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.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)