52 ex-rebels, 200 NPA supporters in Agusan get benefits

Domestic Affairs

BUTUAN CITY: Fifty-two former members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and 200 of their barangay-based supporters in Agusan del Sur province have pledged allegiance to the government Thursday and received benefits from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

In an interview Friday, Maj. Jennifer Ometer, the Police Regional Office in the Caraga Region (PRO-13) information chief, said the batch came from various towns of the province.

“These former rebels and supporters surrendered to field units of the PRO-13 on different occasions last year and in the early part of 2023 in Agusan del Sur,” Ometer said.

Leading the distribution of the E-CLIP benefits held in Patin-ay, Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur, were Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission Secretary Gilberto DC Cruz; Lt. Gen. Filmore Escobal, the Area Police Command in Eastern Mindanao commander; and Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo, the Philippine National Police - Special Action Force director.

They were joined by PRO-13 director, Brig. Gen. Pablo Labra II; and Agusan del Sur Governor Santiago Cane Jr.

The beneficiaries received educational assistance and scholarship for their children, sets of livelihood training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and livelihood support from the provincial government’s Upland Sustainable Agroforestry Development (USAD) program, among others.

“The (achievement) can be attributed to the consistency of our Revitalized Pulis Sa Barangay program in which our (units) were able to educate the people in areas infested by rebels about the programs and services of the government and the E-CLIP program,” Labra said in a separate statement on Friday.

Labra said the PRO-13 will continuously work with other stakeholders in the region to win back more rebels and their supporters to the government.

Alias Jake, a beneficiary, lauded the government for the opportunities he received after abandoning the NPA group.

“We have no future inside the NPA movement as it only destroyed our lives, including the lives of our families,” he said.

He added that the armed struggle being waged by the NPA only brought trouble and hardships in communities and the lives of ordinary civilians and residents.

Source: Philippines News Agency