GOV'T ASSISTANCE. Six former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army receive financial assistance during the awarding in Baler town, Aurora province on Friday (Aug. 26, 2022). Four of the rebels each got PHP65,000 immediate and livelihood assistance, while the two others each received PHP15,000 immediate assistance. (Photo courtesy of the Army's 91st Infantry Battalion)

BALER, Aurora – Six former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) on Friday received immediate and livelihood assistance under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Officials of the Aurora Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict personally awarded the former rebels the assistance that could help them start new lives with their respective families.

Four of the rebels each got PHP65,000 immediate and livelihood assistance, while the two others received PHP15,000 immediate assistance each for a total of PHP290,000.

Governor Christian Noveras congratulated the former rebels on their decision to return to the fold of the law.

“My message is simple, I would like to congratulate you all for becoming again a part of the government and I hope that this is not the end of our relationship but you will be part of the government’s mission for peace and to convince other rebels to surrender,” Noveras said during the awarding of assistance at the Capitol compound in Barangay Suklayin here.

Col. Julio S. Lizardo, provincial director of the Aurora Police Provincial Office, cited the importance of peace and stability in the province.

“We have only one government. Kayo ay nasa gobyerno na, kaya kailangan nating may malasakit sa isa’t-isa, kaayusan at kapayapaan (You are now in the government side so there is a need for concern for each other, peace and order. Hopefully, you will help us in the peace and order situation of the province),” Lizardo told the former rebels.

Lt. Col. Julito B. Recto Jr., commander of 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, Philippine Army, emphasized the importance of the former rebels’ sincerity as they turned back to mainstream society.

“I congratulate you all for your decision to be with us in the government. The long process of waiting has come on the availment of the E-CLIP. It was made possible now and this is proof that our government is sincere in attaining lasting peace. Our task force is here to give various assistance. Show your sincerity and help us to end armed conflict in this province. If you still have access to the dismantled Komiteng Larangang Guerilla Sierra Madre (KLG-SM), help us for them to surrender in a peaceful way,” Recto said.

On the other hand, Ener Cambronero, officer-in-charge provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Aurora, expressed hope that the financial assistance given to the former rebels will be used in a fruitful manner.

“We have incentives in the reintegration program which is PHP21,000 each. Alam kong hirap din kayo sa pagkakaroon ng personal identification (ID) which is part iyan ng reintegration program. Kami po ay patuloy na tutulong sa inyo (I know that you have difficulty in acquiring personal identification card which is part of the reintegration program. We will continue to help you),” Cambronero said.

One of the former rebels, "Ka Ella", thanked the government for its sincerity in helping them who have been deceived by the communist terrorist group.

“Maraming salamat po sa inyong mga tulong para makasama namin ang aming mga pamilya na aming natalikdan dahil sa maling idolohiya. Nangangako po kaming mga former rebels na maibahagi ang aming naranasan na tulong. Marahil ay hindi pa malinaw sa iba ang E-CLIP at tulong ng gobyerno. Tutulong po kami na maipaliwanag ito (Thank you very much for your help to be with our families whom we abandoned due to wrong ideologies. We promise to share our experiences of getting assistance. Probably, it is not yet clear to others the E-CLIP and the support of the government. We will help to explain it),” Ka Ella said.

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