73 rebels, supporters receive financial aid

Photo Courtesy of Raul Banias

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Seventy-three former rebels and members of the Militia ng Bayan received financial assistance through the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) Committee of Iloilo.

They formally received the E-CLIP grant in a ceremony held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol in Iloilo City on June 25.

E-CLIP is a government program aimed at helping members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and Militia ng Bayan restore their allegiance to the Philippine government.

Dr. Raul Banias, Iloilo provincial administrator, led the distribution of financial support. He was joined by Brigadier General Michael Samson, commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade, and a representative from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Iloilo.

Samson said the majority of those who received the financial aid were Militia ng Bayan members who renounced their support for the New People’s Army a few years ago. Most of them are from the towns of Miag-ao, San Joaquin, and Tubungan.

Each Militia ng Bayan member received at least P15,000 in financial aid. The E-CLIP covers Militia ng Bayan members because they are considered force multipliers and sometimes act as part-time NPA armed members.

They support regular NPA members by providing additional manpower, information, food, and other logistics. The mass base supporters are those who support the NPAs by providing them with temporary shelter when needed.

Samson explained that a regular rebel receives more financial aid, and additional assistance is provided if a firearm is surrendered.

Besides livelihood assistance, E-CLIP also covers education, housing, medical, and other social services necessary for reintegration into mainstream society.