38 ex-NPA rebels get P270,000 cash, educational aid

Mayor Raymund Tongson Jr. (fifth from the left) leads the distribution of financial and educational aid to 38 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at a ceremony at Himamaylan City Hall, Negros Occidental, on Wednesday. Present were representatives from the police, the Army, and the City Social Welfare and Development Office. (Photo courtesy of the 3rd Infantry Division)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in partnership with the local government of Himamaylan, Negros Occidental, has provided P270,000 in financial and educational assistance to 38 ex-members of the New People’s Army (NPA) this past Wednesday.

The beneficiaries included thirty-four former insurgents from the Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion, two from the Philippine Air Force, and two from the Philippine National Police. The assistance is part of the DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.

Mayor Raymund Tongson Jr. presided over the aid distribution ceremony at the City Hall alongside City Council members, Executive Assistant Wendell John Vallejera, Social Welfare and Development Officer Ever Grace Castro, Colonel Victor Llapitan, the Deputy Brigade Commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Van Donald Almonte, Commander of the 94th Infantry Battalion, and Police Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Grande, the City Police Chief.

Out of the 38 recipients, 27 were granted P10,000 each, while the remaining 11 received educational assistance from the City Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (CTF-ELCAC) and the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO). This program is designed to provide immediate support to families impacted by the armed conflict.

Additionally, the former rebels were given hygiene, family, sleeping, and kitchen kits.

Major General Marion Sison, Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, expressed optimism for more NPA members to opt for peaceful and positive life changes, inspired by the positive results of collaborative efforts to free Negros Island from the clutches of insurgency.

He called for continuous commitment and support from all stakeholders and reaffirmed the 3rd ID’s unwavering partnership in progressing towards a state of stable internal peace and security for Negros.

Llapitan, speaking on behalf of Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, 303rd IBde Commander, emphasized their strong backing for the program and welcomed those wishing to renounce violence.