CASH AID. A former New People's Army (NPA) rebels fist bumps with a government worker after receiving PHP23,000 financial aid on Monday (Sept. 5, 2022). The former rebels earlier took part in interventions from government agencies that include technical training, education, and practical skills, among others. (Photo courtesy of Davao Oriental PIO)

DAVAO CITY – Twenty-eight former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Davao Oriental province have received PHP644,000 worth of livelihood aid from the government.

In a statement Tuesday, the provincial government said each former rebel received PHP23,000 financial aid.

Of the amount, PHP20,000 came from the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao Region (DSWD-11) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), while PHP3,000 was sourced from the fund of the government's whole-of-nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

Through the SLP, DSWD provided livelihood settlement grants to ex-NPA rebels, which the recipients should use as seed capital to fund  proposed livelihood projects.

Governor Corazon Malanyaon urged the surrenderers to use the funds properly by investing them to uplift their quality of life and succeed to entice more insurgents to surrender to the government.

“I encourage all of you to become responsible citizens by maximizing what is being provided to you and the government will acknowledge those efforts you put in and ensure to help you in growing further as your success will also benefit others in your community,” she said.

Aside from the cash assistance, the former rebels, who are graduates of the provincial government’s Happy Home and deradicalization program, also took part in interventions from government agencies that include technical training, education, practical skills, and other services.

"I will not let you go back to the old ways that led you in the wrong direction. The insurgent group only brings misery to your lives," Malanyaon assured.

DSWD-11 Director Vanessa Goc-ong said the SLP aims to improve the economic well-being of the vulnerable, marginalized, and disadvantaged individuals and families in communities "by mobilizing and empowering the same through the support of the local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies.”

She said the various DSWD activities are in partnership with the LGUs, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (PNA)