Former rebels receive P1.7M gov't financial assistance in Samar

Former rebels receive P1.7M gov't financial assistance in Samar

The Samar Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) distributed financial assistance amounting to PhP1,790,000.00 to 41 former rebels and Yunit Militia members as part of the government's Local Social Integration Program (LSIP). Photo: Stormtroopers Division/Facebook

TACLOBAN CITY – Forty-one (41) former rebels and Yunit Militia members in Samar received financial assistance under the government's Local Social Integration Program (LSIP). Organized as Peacebuilders, these individuals, who were once part of the New People's Army (NPA), were granted PhP1,790,000.00 during a ceremony held at the 8th Infantry Division Headquarters on June 5, 2023.

Representatives from the Samar Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), the Provincial Government of Samar, the 8th Infantry Division, the Philippine National Police, and various government agencies came together to facilitate the distribution of financial aid to members of the Peace Builder Groups from Basey, San Jose De Buan, and Villareal in Samar.

The financial assistance provided varied based on the individuals' previous involvement with the NPA. Of the 41 beneficiaries, 17 were former NPA regulars, with eight receiving PhP100,000 each and nine receiving PhP75,000 each. Additionally, among the 24 Yunit Militia members, three received PhP35,000 each, while 21 others received PhP10,000 each.

The financial support received by the Peacebuilders encompassed transition assistance, livelihood assistance, and remuneration for surrendered firearms. This aid aims to facilitate their reintegration into mainstream society, enabling them to start afresh and build sustainable livelihoods.

During the event, one of the beneficiaries, Maya, expressed her gratitude to the government for the assistance given to former rebels like her and her husband, alias Otip. 

Maya, a former member of the Bugsok Platoon, Sub-Regional Committee Sesame, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, emphasized that the financial aid would help them establish a business and improve their daily income. She credited the government for enabling them to lead peaceful, comfortable lives with their family.

Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan commended the former rebels for choosing to return to the rule of law and become agents of peace. She congratulated the Peacebuilders on their fresh start facilitated by the government's financial assistance. In her message, Governor Tan assured them of the province's support and welcomed them back home.

Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, the Commander of the 8th Infantry Division, expressed the army's commitment to ending the local communist armed conflict in the region. He encouraged the Peacebuilders to stay united and support one another, emphasizing their crucial role in creating communities free from the influence of Communist Terrorist Groups. 

He also urged them to utilize the assistance provided by the government to rebuild their lives and become active partners in peacekeeping and nation-building.

In addition to the financial aid distribution, the event served as a moment of alliance-building. The Peacebuilders took an oath and signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to formalize their partnership with the government in their shared pursuit of peacekeeping and nation-building initiatives. —iTacloban

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