LUNA, Apayao – Six former rebels in the province received half a million pesos each as incentive for laying down their firearms and surrendering to the folds of the law.
Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. with Gov. Elias Bulut, Jr. and Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang led the awarding of cash incentives to the six former rebels on Nov. 22 during the Balik-Loob program of the provincial government dubbed as the Celebrating Oneness, Progress, and Unrelenting Nationalism (Copun).
The former rebels received the cash assistance as provided for under Executive Order 22 signed by Bulut allowing the provincial government to use its funds to ensure the maintenance of peace and order.
EO 22 entitles any rebel from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army who surrenders to the provincial local government unit and totally denounces his communist affiliation.
The LGU also awarded P1 million incentive to an informant who was instrumental in neutralizing a high ranking NPA member and the recovery of three-high-powered firearms in Barangay Upper Atok in Flora, Apayao.
Aside from the cash aid from the LGU, various agency-members of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts committed to provide support to the former rebels under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
Teodoro lauded Apayao for its program that encourages brothers and sisters from the CPP-NPA to lay down their firearms and surrender back to the folds of the law.
Teodoro said the large amount given as incentive is a big help to encourage more rebels and at the same time, deter the ideologies and activities being propagated by the rebel groups in the communities.
Begtang said the program shows the sincerity of the LGU towards attaining peace, security, progress and development across the province.
She commended and thanked the partners from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, the local government units and the other national line agencies for their commitment, dedication and tireless efforts in the continuing quest for genuine peace and security for the country and the province.
Bulut said that the Copun, coined from the Isnag term which means friend, is a way to support the peace and order programs and the fight against insurgency of the national government.
He explained that maintaining and sustaining the peace and order situation in the province ensures the continued progress and development, and improving the lives the people.
The governor also assured to do everything for the attainment of the province’s plans and projects, including the eradication and disturbances caused by the insurgency.
During the Copun, which was attended by Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba and Northern Luzon Command Head, Lt./Gen. Fernyl Buca, the Philippine Army forces also presented to Sec. Teodoro for inspection 23 high-powered firearms and other war materials including a M60 general purpose machine gun, AK47, M14 rifles, M16 rifles, M653 rifles, grenade launchers, command detonating explosives, and anti-personal. – Redjie M. Cawis