LIVELIHOOD PREPS. A total of 15 former rebels undergo a series of a pre-orientation seminar on Livelihood Settlement Grant starting Wednesday (July 8, 2020) until Saturday at the headquarters of the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. (Photo courtesy of CMO, 23rd IB)
BUTUAN CITY – Fifteen former rebels (FRs) underwent a pre-orientation seminar on Livelihood Settlement Grant (SLG) in series of activities held starting on July 8 until July 11 at the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.
“It is not enough to accept the former combatants and supporters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) as they decide to return to the folds of the law, but it is also important to prepare them to go back to their families and communities,” said Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, 23IB commander, in a statement issued Saturday.
Paulo said the activity was a joint collaboration between the 23IB and the Department of Social Services and Development (DSWD) in the province.
“The government and the Army, especially the 23IB will always adhere to its promise of helping the FRs to have productive and progressive living with their families after spending months and years fighting with the inept ideology of the CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists),” the Army official said.
He also underscored the need to capacitate the NPA surrenderers “for them to be able to face the various economic challenges as they begin their renewed lives with their families.”
1st Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, 23IB civil-military operations officer, said in a separate interview Saturday that the 15 rebel returnees surrendered beginning the late quarter of 2019 until June of this year.
“Most of them are staying here at the ‘Happy Home’ inside our headquarters while processing their documents from the ECLIP program,” Maglalang said.
ECLIP stands for Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government designed to provide economic and social support to former NPA combatants.
Maglalang called on the remaining NPA rebels in Agusan del Norte to surrender and avail all government programs “for the betterment of their lives and families.” (PNA)
Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency