TFBL chair lauds former rebels who avail of E-CLIP; condemns NPA recruitment of minors
December 30, 2019
Department of National Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu, Head of Task Force Balik-Loob(TFBL) which implements the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), lauded the more than 10,000 former rebels (FRs) who have surfaced and returned to the fold of the law since the Task Force was organized in 2018.
Of the 10 thousand former rebels, which include members of the Militia ng Bayan comprised of unarmed supporters of the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs), Usec. Mapagu said that only about 3,000 so far have been awarded the benefits of the program because of the “very stringent vetting process they implement, to ensure that the program won’t be taken advantage of.” He stressed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are continuously working together on issuing Joint AFP/PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC) clearances to authentic FRs and Militia ng Bayan members, who have chosen to return to their families and loved ones, and rejoin mainstream society.
Those whose applications to the E-CLIP have been processed have received a P65,000.00 cash assistance, as well as livelihood training and housing benefits.
Usec. Mapagu expressed his gladness that this year, thousands of former rebels are celebrating Christmas with their family. But he also revealed that because of the high numbers of FRs who have chosen to avail of E-CLIP and live a life of peace, the CTGs are
now forced to aggressively recruit minors from schools and barangays, a fact that many sectors of society strongly condemn.
He said that the CTGs membership significantly decreased when they lost the thousands who have grown tired of fighting the government and terrorizing our people, so “they are now resorting to recruitment of minors, just like they did in the past.” He also
shared that some of the rebels he spoke to when they were presented to him admitted that they joined the NPA “when they were still minors, as young as 13 and 15 years old.”
For the coming year, Usec. Mapagu gave an assurance that more FRs will receive their benefits under E-CLIP saying that “the budget of E-CLIP is intact and ready for release, and as soon as the former rebels obtain their JAPIC clearance, they will immediately receive their benefits.” The TFBL chairman is also hoping that more NPA and Militia ng Bayan members will surface and avail of E-CLIP. “I call out to all our brothers and sisters, who are engaged in the CTGs’ pointless activities of violence, extortion, arson and deception to return to our people so that our country will finally experience lasting peace,” Usec. Mapagu said. ###
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