The Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion (26IB) said 12 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered to the unit on separate occasions last year recently received livelihood assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
In a statement Sunday, the 26IB said the financial aid was handed over on Friday in a ceremony held at the Naligayan Cultural Center in Patin-ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
“Each of the 12 former rebels under this unit received assistance worth PHP20,000 or a total of PHP240,000 through the Livelihood Settlement Grant (SLG) program of the DSWD,” the 26IB said.
The SLG program is designed to provide assistance to former rebels as they prepare themselves to return to their families and communities.
The awarding of the financial assistance was facilitated through the convergence of different government agencies under Executive Order No. 70 which institutionalized the whole-of-nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The distribution of the assistance was led by Agusan del Sur Gov. Santiago Cane Jr., together with DSWD Provincial Officer Razel Montemor, Department of the Interior and Local Government Provincial Officer Arleen Sanchez, Lt. Col. Merill Sumalinog, the commander of 60th Infantry Battalion, and Lt. Col. Sandy Majarocon, the commander of 26IB.
Among the 12 former rebels under the 26IB who received the assistance was alias “Rex” who thanked the government for its sincerity in reaching out to them and helping them.
“The government is true to its promise of providing us support to allow us to live peacefully after leaving the communist movement,” Rex was quoted as saying in the 26IB statement.
He added that the livelihood assistance will help him start his life anew together with his family in their community.
In the same statement, Majarocon welcomed the release of the livelihood aid that manifested the true intent of the government to change the lives of the former rebels.
“I am asking our former rebels who benefited from this program to be financially sensible and make wise of their money which is duly intended for their livelihood and family,” Majarocon said
Source: Philippines News Agency