Misamis Occidental (PIA)–A total of 84 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from Misamis Occidental received financial assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in line with the government’s enhanced reintegration program at Camp Burgos, Oroquieta.
DSWD provided a P5,000 cash grant to each returnee to support their basic needs amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
DSWD SWAD Team Leader Christopher Requina said the cash aid is part of their interventions under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, which supports the recovery of individuals and families suffering from unexpected life events or crises.
“I am very thankful that you have surfaced, abandoned the armed struggle and became productive members of society, and the government through the DSWD will always be here to support you and your family,” Requina said.
Requina also added that the department is tasked to harmonize the delivery of basic services and social development packages to conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities, facilitate societal inclusivity, and ensure active participation of all sectors of society in the pursuit of the country’s peace agenda.
For his part, 10th Infantry Battalion Lt. Cornel Ray Tiongson thanked the former rebels for their cooperation and support to the government and the Province of Misamis Occidental.
Tiongson emphasized that the government is very serious to end the problem of insurgency. “Rest assured that we will do everything together with all government agencies to end this local communist arm conflict in the province.”
Meanwhile, Governor Philip Tan shared the programs of the province intended for the former rebels. “We assure our former rebels that the government, civic organizations, NGO and cooperative will be with them every step of the way in their desire to have a new life,” Tan said.
Elena Roman from Barangay Lampasan, Don Victoriano thanked the government after receiving the financial aid. She then urged the remaining members of the NPA to surrender to the government.
“Akong dakong pasalamat sa DSWD labi na sa gobyerno sa cash assistance tungod kay dako kaayo nga katabang sa amoa. Sa mga nagpabilin pa nga miyembro ug sa mga misuporta pa sa rebeldeng NPA, gi-awhag nako tamo nga musurrender na ug mubalik na kamo sa gobyerno,” Roman said.
(I am very thankful to DSWD especially the government for the assistance because it’s a big help to us. I encourage the other NPA rebels to surrender and return to the fold of the law),” she said.
The Province of Misamis Occidental will also provide medical health assistance, free education and monthly assistance amounting to P2,500 for the month of July to December 2021. The Department of Agriculture (DA) will also provide cacao seedlings to the former rebels. (SMRN/PIA Misamis Occidental)