AID FOR EX-REBELS. Some of the rebels during the payout of cash assistance in Catarman, Northern Samar province on August 12, 2022. At least 34 former rebels received a total of PHP260,000 cash assistance from the national government. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army) 

TACLOBAN CITY – At least 34 former rebels who recently surrendered to the Philippine Army in Northern Samar have received PHP260,000 grant under the assistance to individuals in crisis situation (AICS) of the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD).

Lt. Col. Manuel Degay Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 43rd Infantry Battalion, said in a statement on Monday the former rebels received the cash assistance during a turn-over rites at the headquarters of the Army’s 803rd Infantry Brigade in Catarman, Northern Samar on August 12.

Degay said each of the former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) received a cash assistance of PHP5,000 while those who surrendered with firearms received an additional PHP5,000 as firearms remuneration.

He is hoping the array of government programs to former rebels will encourage other NPA fighters to lay down their arms and return to the mainstream society.

“To our brothers and sisters who are still fighting a lost cause, this is the best time to go down from hiding and embrace a normal life with your families and loved ones aided by our array of government programs. It’s time to give back to your families and to the formerly affected communities in the countryside who were also victims of the hate campaign and other propaganda perpetrated by rebels,” Degay said.

The AICS is part of the DSWD's protective services for individuals considered as poor, marginalized, and vulnerable or disadvantaged.

It also complements the enhanced comprehensive local integration program that provides immediate transition assistance, allowance, livelihood assistance and firearms remuneration for NPA regulars who want to return to the folds of the law and live a normal life with their loved ones.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (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. (PR)