CASH AID. A former member of the communist terrorist group in Nueva Ecija receives cash assistance in this undated photo. The beneficiary is one of the 43 former rebels who received assistance under the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). (Photo courtesy of the Army's 7th Infantry Division)

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – At least 43 former members of the communist terrorist group (CTG) in this province have received cash assistance under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Col. Joseph Norwin D. Pasamonte, Deputy Brigade Commander of the Army’s 703rd Brigade, said on Monday more than PHP2 million worth of cash assistance was received by the former rebels (FRs) that can be used as seed money in starting a small business to support their respective families.

Pasamonte said each FR received cash aid ranging from PHP15,000 to PHP65,000.

He hopes the move would mark the foundation of unity for the good of the country and for the next generation.

Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto, commanding officer of the Army’s 84th Infantry Battalion (IB), reiterated their call to all remaining CTG members to abandon communist terrorism and avail of the E-CLIP program to be able to live peacefully together with their families.

Likewise, Maj. Gen. Andrew Costelo, Commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, is hopeful the move will be a pathway for other active rebels to see how sincere the government is in helping and supporting those who wish to embrace a peaceful life alongside the government.

Costelo cited the importance of providing a long-lasting opportunity for the former rebels to live a normal life.

Meanwhile, government agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Department of Trade and Industry have reassured full assistance to the Army’s 3rd Mechanized Battalion's livelihood programs for former members of the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla Tarlac-Zambales who surrendered recently in Tarlac.

Lt. Col. Jeszer M. Bautista, the battalion's acting commanding officer, said providing livelihood is one way of showing the government's sincerity in giving former rebels another chance to start a normal life with their family. (PNA)