Some 134 communist members, including a National Democratic Front (NDF) officer from the Bicol Region have joined the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).
Capt. Joash Pramis, spokesperson of the Philippine military’s 9th Infantry Division, said in a phone interview on Wednesday that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana led national and local officials in accepting the hundreds of NPA rebels that decided to embrace peace.
Of the 134 rebel surrenderers, 109 were from Masbate while 25 came from Sorsogon.
“Among the rebel surrenderers was a political officer of the NDF operating in the island province of Masbate,” Pramis said.
He said at least 15 assault firearms that were surrendered by the rebels were displayed for viewing at the ceremony held at the Magallanes Coliseum in Masbate City.
The CLIP integration program was followed by the opening of the newly built PHP5-million 4-storey concrete temporary shelter for rebel returnees at the Police Camp Boni Serrano compound in Masbate City.
The construction of the rebel shelter edifice can accommodate hundreds of people. This was the first structure built in the country, he said
The edifice called “Halfway House” serves as a temporary home, livelihood, processing and training center for former NPA rebels that undergoes integration process under the CLIP program.
The building can accommodate around 20 families, Pramis said.
Another additional PHP5-million is expected to be released as local government counterpart. The amount would be used to construct facilities.
Earlier, Lorenzana held a closed-door meeting with Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho and 21 city and town mayors. (PNA/Mar Serrano)