Former Rebels Showered with Benefits through Government’s E-CLIP

DAVAO ORIENTAL – A brighter future awaits former rebels as they are set to start life anew after having been showered with a downpour of benefits from the government on Wednesday, July 11.

 Through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), 45 former rebels, who are the current residents of the Provincial Government-run halfway house for former rebels, have received their immediate and livelihood assistance of P 65,000 in an awarding ceremony held at the Provincial Capitol Covered Court, symbolizing a beautiful start for them and their families.

Fourteen of them have received additional cash incentives for surrendering their firearms while a total of 241 beneficiaries of the program since it has started also received P20,000 each as livelihood assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“Hindi po lamang kayong mga nagbabalik-loob ang magababago ang buhay kung hindi pati na rin ang inyong mga pamilya na babalik na rin sa mapayapang buhay-pamilya. (It’s not just you (former rebels) whose lives will change but also your families who will also return to a peaceful life),” said Department of Interior and Local Government OIC Eduardo Año, in his message delivered by DILG Assistant Secretary Manuel Felix.

In his message, he stressed that the program demonstrates the government’s bid towards “real change” as well as its way of showing true compassion to its constituents.

Año congratulated the beneficiaries for a very wise decision they made, in embracing the certainty of the world that awaits them now. “Thank you for the trust,” he told the former rebels as he vowed that the government will guide them in their journey towards normalcy – a life that is peaceful and free from violence, indignation, and warped values and ideology.

DILG Assistant Secretary Manuel Felix.

He also urged all peace and development stakeholders to beef up efforts to entice rebels to return to the folds of the government. He also stressed that the government is also keen on protecting the indigenous people since they are vulnerable to the recruitment of the armed group.

E-CLIP BENEFITS

Aside from the incentives given to them during the E-CLIP benefits distribution, former rebels are also entitled to enrolment to Philhealth which is valid for one year and can be renewed as well as scores of other benefits including psychosocial support, spiritual enlightenment, moral recovery, sports development, recreational activities, and educational services such as enrolment to Alternative Learning System and TESDA skills training, among many others—all of which are already implemented in Davao Oriental.

Under the E-CLIP, the government is also allocating P 5 million assistance to LGUs for the construction of a halfway house.

The Province of Davao Oriental which has an existing halfway house for former rebels called Happy Home seeks to improve and expand its facilities in order to cater to more beneficiaries.

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, who warmly welcomed former rebels as legitimate constituents of the Republic, said that with the Provincial Government’s ardent desire to help the former rebels in their transformation, his administration is also committed to continue what his predecessor “beautifully” started in the noble intention of helping former rebels build a new life.

 

The first and only of its kind in the country, the Davao Oriental Happy Home built during the tenure of then Governor and now First District Representative Corazon Malanyaon serves as a refuge for former rebels while preparing for their return to their respective communities.

Since its opening in 2013, Davao Oriental’s Happy Home facility and program implementation of the CLIP has become a “model” which neighboring and distant local government units alike are benchmarking. It has served a total of 259 former rebels since the launching of the program.

Eastern Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrjgal, Jr., who himself has been part of Davao Oriental’s CLIP implementation when he was still the Commander of the 701st Brigade based here, gave a picturesque delineation of the program, how it started, what it is aimed at, and the expected aftermath of the program.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrjgal, Jr.

Brigadier General Reuben Basiao, Commander of the 701st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, disclosed that certainly, there will be monitoring done to ensure that the financial assistance is spent to where it should be spent.

Department of National Defense (DND) USEC Reynaldo Mapago, representing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that parents, the schools, barangays, and authorities should give more focus to the children. “It is our obligation to protect them. We have to give the necessary guidance so that they won’t be persuaded to join the arm movement,” he said.

Other guests to the awarding activity included DILG Regional Director Alex Roldan, DSWD USEC Luzviminda Ilagan, Assistant Regional Director Rebecca Sta. Maria, Office of the Presidental Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) USEC Nelson Espares, National Housing Authority Regional Director Rolando Teves, 10th Infantry Division Commander Major General Noel Clement, Major General Rene Glen Paje, Police Senior Superintentet Eden Ugale, and their local counterparts here in the province.

Each of the former rebels has their own story to tell. But one has a deep reflection on the beautiful twist in his life now.

A former rebel giving his testimony

“Our senior comrades in the movement had retired, while others will soon follow and nothing happened. We did not win the fight. What if I did not surrender? We, the younger ones will assume the leadership. What will happen? Will we win this time?” asked one former rebel in his testimony, this time sounding as a real New Peace Advocate (NPA). By: Karen Lou Deloso and Neela G. Duallo/Photos by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

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