February 24, 2024

Four more former rebels will start leading normal lives after turning their backs from the harsh living conditions they endured with the underground movement for years.
Rebel returnees “Ka Rebo” and “Ka Kabayan” who surrendered to government authorities were presented on July 15 at the Benguet Provincial Police Office.
They will undergo the process required under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), which provides a complete package of assistance to individuals who turned their backs from the revolutionary movement espoused by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army.
The two rebel returnees were presented by Police Regional Office-Cordillera Deputy Regional Director for Operations, Col. John Chua; BPPO Director, Col. Elmer E. Ragay; and Department of the Interior and Local Government-Benguet Director Rufina Fegcan.
Like the former rebels who surrendered before them, Ka Rebo and Ka Kabayan said they were convinced to lay down their arms after efforts of local government units and various agencies that are at the forefront of the government’s whole-of-nation approach in ending insurgency in helping people like them who wish to become productive members of society.
Both said they got exhausted from the tough living conditions they endured while carrying out the armed struggle they supported for years.
“Ka Rebo” was a team leader of the NPA unit operating in Kalinga, Abra, Mountain Province, and Ilocos Sur. He joined the movement in 2003. He turned over a caliber 45 pistol.
“Ka Kabayan” was a team leader of the unit operating in Sadanga and Bontoc, Mountain Province. He joined the movement in 2014. He turned over an M14 rifle.
Ragay said the two returnees among the four who turned themselves in to authorities since July 12 and are among the 18 rebels who surrendered through the BPPO this year. Last year, six former rebels also surrendered to the BPPO.
One of those who surrendered this year is set to receive the benefits provided under the E-CLIP, while one of the six who surrendered last year has already received the package of assistance.
Ragay added of those who surrendered, no one has so far been monitored to be engaged in illegal activities or getting in touch with their former colleagues.
“One had actually visited the office recently to execute an affidavit against the organizations that recruited him,” he said.
Fegcan has assured the rebel returnees that the government in sincere in helping them lead normal lives and provide them the assistance to integrate them into mainstream society.
“We are thankful of your decision to come back, rest assured that the government is always here to help you so you can live a life that is free of fear and lies,” she said.
The livelihood assistance for rebel returnees is given after a series of validation by concerned government agencies and the LGUs.
In Kalinga, “Ka Tikoy” and “Ka Yangsi”, both 21, also surrendered to the authorities on July 14 after a series of negotiations with their respective families. The two returnees surrendered one M16 rifle with ammunitions, an improvised blasting cap and an improvised anti-personnel clamor mine type before the Kalinga Police Provincial Office under Col. Davy Limmong.
Chua, meanwhile, said more rebels are expected to lay down their arms as they are now convinced of the government’s willingness to help them.
“We are expecting more to return because they are now seeing the government’s sincerity to help them,” Chua said, adding the recent surrender of individuals linked to the revolutionary movement has dealt a blow to the group. – Jane B. Cadalig