27 Bukidnon ex-NPAs get benefits after surrender

Another batch of 27 former rebels received financial assistance through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) headquarters here Thursday.

Marieta Dayata, DSWD-Bukidnon provincial team leader, said the incentive totaled PHP135,000 — or PHP5,000 each — for rebel returnees who formerly belonged to the North Central Mindanao Regional command and Militia ng Bayan (MB) of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“This is one of the DSWD programs that will help former rebels,” aside from medical assistance and other aid under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), she said.

Marila Taquin, who was a former political instructor of the NPA, said the aid packages from the government have made it possible for her to start a piggery business.

“I started a piggery business after receiving PHP65,000 on December 18 last year through the E-Clip program. Now my family is in better hands, and we can eat regularly now that we have returned to the arms of the state,” Taquin said in the dialect.

Lt. Col. Ronal Illana, 8IB commanding officer, expressed gratitude to the government agencies that are extending aid to former communist rebels.

Illana called on the remaining NPA rebels to “lay down your arms and come back to the folds of the law. Rest assured that your Army will always be there to help and support you in changing your life.”

Lt. Ken Cabbigat, 8IB civil-military operations officer, said a total of 295 Bukidnon-based NPA members and mass supporters have surrendered in the past two years. (PNA/Mel Madera)