BANGUED, Abra- Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Atty, Benjamin Abalos, Jr. led the distribution of PHP384k worth of firearms remuneration to five former rebels here.
“The re-integration program of the government is very important that is why we are here to fast track the reintegration program of former rebels into mainstream society,” said SILG Benjamin Abalos, Jr. during the turnover ceremony.
The said former rebels surrendered to the government four high-powered and one low-powered firearms to government authorities under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
The cash assistance depends on the type of firearms and if it is still ‘serviceable.’ The firearms (remuneration) is twice the cash amount of surrendered firearms. During the ceremony, he emphasized the need to protect our children from violence as he narrates an instance where he interfaced with former child rebels.
“Parang mga anak natin na instead na nasa school at nakikipag-kaibigan, they are living their lives full of violence,” he said.
SILG Abalos further encouraged local chief executives (LCEs) to continue leading the fight against insurgency towards protecting not only our children but Cordillera communities.
He vowed that the national government through DILG and its attached agencies will continue realizing the government’s “holistic and whole-of-the-nation approach” in resolving communist insurgency.
“Let us continue our efforts in delivering the basic services in conflict-affected areas and Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) to help bring the government closer to the Cordillera communities,” he said.
“Let us make sure na ang araw na ito ay hindi basta lamang araw ng pag surrender. Ang importante ay ang mga susunod na araw ng continuing development para sa kanila,” he said.
Adding, “Importante nakikita ng taong-bayan na we are trying our best to improve their living conditions, na nandoon ang puso natin bilang public servants na handang tumulong sa kanilang mga pangangailangan,” he said.
He also lauded the LCEs, DILG personnel and its attached agencies noting that they have proven themselves in times of crisis prompting to a fast recovery of the province from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that jolted the Island of Luzon on July 27, 2022.
In an interview with ‘Ka Drew’ one of the FRs from Brgy. Pacgued, Malibcong, during the awarding of remuneration package, he said that hunger and hardships he experienced with the movement made him decide to rejoin his family.
“Palagi kaming naglalakad doon ng malalayo, mahirap kasi walang pagkain at tubig kaya naisipan kong tumakas,” he stated.
The ECLIP is a program for former rebels and members of the Militia ng Bayan who decided to abandon armed struggle in order to return to the fold of law. This is to facilitate the reintegration of the former rebels to civilian life and for them to become productive and law-abiding members of society. ### (PMTG/DILG CAR)