By Lady Jean Kabagani

MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL, Nov 19 (PIA ICCC) – About seventy-one (71) former rebels from the province of Misamis Occidental last week received financial assistance through Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana led the awarding ceremony held at Provincial Capitol in Oroquieta City on Nov. 13.

Through the reintegration and financial assistance program, checks amounting to PHP65,000 were handed over former regular members of the New People’s Army (NPA), while Yunit Militia members received PHP15,000 each.

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana gives a message to the surrenderers. (Photo by Shaine Nagtalon/PIA Mis Occ)

Present during the ceremony are Province of Misamis Occidental Governor Herminia Ramiro, Assistant Secretary for Barangay Affairs and Partnership Roosque Calacat, Task Force Balik Loob Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, Misamis Occidental Vice-Governor Virginia Almonte, Army’s 1st Infantry Division Commander, Major General Roseller Murillo, along with E-CLIP committees, Philippine National Police, local government units and other stakeholders.

“Sixty-nine out of 71 surrenderers were regular Communist NPA Terrorist members, the two others were Yunit Militia,” said Col. Bagnus Gaerlan, Commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade.

The government’s E-CLIP promotes peace in the province of Misamis Occidental.

“E-CLIP has changed the lives of FRs in Misamis Occidental. With this program, rebels in our province decreased,” Gov. Ramiro said.

Ramiro urged the former militants to be the government’s partner for pushing peace in the country.

“To our former rebels(FRs), there is no turning back, you (FRs) are now our partners for peace and development in our province,” Ramiro added.

One of the former rebels Man-man (not his real name) shared his hardships and struggles while with the NPA armed group.

Man-man also thanked the president for pursuing the reintegration program.

“The promise of our government is different compared to Communist NPA Terrorist. We fulfill our promise of a good governance, the (NPA) didn’t.” Lorenzana.

Lorenzana said the E-CLIP, through the leadership of President Duterte, consists of a complete package of assistance “where convergence of government units and agencies to serve our FRs is being implemented.”

A photo of former rebels and the government bodies inspired by unity and harmony of peace.(Photo by Shaine Nagtalon/PIA MisOcc)

Meanwhile, the former rebels took their ‘Oath of allegiance’ and pledge their commitment, loyalty and support to the government.

“We thanked Gov. Ramiro and the stakeholders of province of Misamis Occidental for being active in implementing the E-CLIP,” Major General Murillo said.

The E-CLIP seeks to contribute towards achieving the goal of permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups. (LJKabagani/PIA/AFP)