P1.1M given to former rebels in North Cotabato

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/10 November) – The North Cotabato provincial government has released P1.1 million in livelihood assistance to 18 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who yielded to the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion.

Governor Lala Mendoza and Interior and Local Government provincial officer Ali Abdullah handed the checks to the former guerrillas, many of them women, during the Provincial Peace and Order meeting at the provincial capitol complex on Thursday.

The surrenderees hailed from different towns of North Cotabato believed influenced by the NPA.

The livelihood assistance, Mendoza explained, was part of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), an anti-insurgency program led by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

She said the assistance is intended to help the former rebels start their lives anew.

“The assistance aims to aid the former rebels in their transition back to mainstream society,” said Lt. Col. Harold Argamosa, commander of the 39th IB.

Abdullah said CLIP is implemented in partnership with the local government units, Armed Forces, Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and civil society organizations.

“It also demonstrates the government’s commitment to pursuing peace and development amid the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” he added. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)