Build your homes, start new lives, Go tells ex-NPA rebels
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
BUTUAN CITY – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go lauded 17 former New People's Army (NPA) combatants' decision to turn away from the communist movement to start new lives.
Go sent a video message during the turnover of housing financial assistance to the 17 former rebels (FRs) from Agusan del Norte in a ceremony held here on Monday.
"The assistance will help them build their homes and start a new life with their families,” he said.
He also applauded the efforts of the different agencies of the government in extending help to the FRs.
Each of them received a PHP450,000 cash aid which is part of the benefits they will get under the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
“Continue to do good and help the government to achieve peace in our country," Go told the former rebels.
He also encouraged the remaining NPA rebels in Agusan del Norte and other parts of the Caraga Region to surrender and avail of the government's programs.
The distribution was led by Department of National Defense Undersecretary and Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) chair Reynaldo Mapagu and National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr., together with Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, and Agusan del Norte Gov. Dale B. Corvera.
The financial assistance received by the FRs will be utilized for the construction of their new homes inside the 1.4-hectare land donated by the San Roque Metals, Inc. (SRMI) in Barangay Del Pilar, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., the commander of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID), lauded the distribution of assistance to the former rebels who decided to leave behind the futile armed struggle of the NPA to live peacefully with their families.
The 17 FRs who received aid surrendered to the 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) on different occasions in 2020 and this year. The 29IB is under the command of the 901st Infantry Brigade of the 4ID.
“The government has demonstrated the gesture of its sincerity and on the promise of better opportunities once they decide to lay down their arms and return to the peaceful path,” Brawner said.
He also urged the remaining NPA insurgents in the area to surrender and consider the offer of the government through the E-CLIP.
"You have suffered enough from this futile armed struggle. This is high time for you to return to the folds of the law. You have now the chance to live in peace with a new home with your family. Avail the E-CLIP and be productive members of society where all of us will tread the path of peace and development,” Brawner said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)