By Freddie Lazaro
CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela – Three former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels have received Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA), while sixteen others got financial assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), according to Maj. Jefferson M. Somera, spokesperson of the Army’s Fifth Infantry Division (5th ID).
Somera said on Monday that the former NPAs got the assistance from the national government on separate occasions at the 5th Infantry Division’s area of responsibility.
On January 16, 2019, Secretary Jhony Castriciones of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) awarded a CLOA covering an area of over a hectare each to the three former rebels from Sto Niño, Cagayan through the assistance of the 17th Infantry Battalion and the provincial government of Cagayan held in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
The 54th Infantry Battalion and the Local Government of Asipulo, Ifugao distributed the financial assistance to the two former rebels and 14 former Militia ng Bayan members at BarangayAntipolo, Asipulo, Ifugao last January 19.
The two former rebels identified as Ka Iyong and Ka Cindy received P65,000 pesos each under the Immediate Cash and Livelihood Assistance program, while the 14 former Militia ng Bayan members received P15,000 pesos each as Immediate Cash Assistance.
Maj. Gen. Perfecto M. Rimando Jr, 5th ID commander, was elated with the distribution of land and financial assistance to the former rebels.
“Our government is sincere with its advocacy to help the returning rebels through the ECLIP to rebuild their lives destroyed by the Communist NPA Terrorist organization,” said Rimando.
“I also enjoin all the local elected officials, members of the academe and church leaders and our fellow Filipinos in the area of 5ID to support the Localized Peace Talks by calling for the surrender of the remaining CNT members in Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Regions. And now, it is everybody’s responsibility to end this five decade insurgency-turned into terrorism activities by the Communist Party of the Philippines – New Peoples’ Army (CPP-NPA) and its allied National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” Rimando added.