Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – Two former rebels (FRs) received cash awards while the Municipal Mayors of Abra led by Honorable Governor Maria Jocelyn Bernos pledged their commitment to President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 during the Abra Provincial Peace and Order Committee (PPOC) Meeting on September 24, 2019 held at the Abra Provincial Capitol in Bangued.
Based on the records of 24th Infantry (Wildcat) Battalion, the two (2) FRs surrendered separately to the said unit in the months of April and October in 2018. They received checks worth Php50,000.00 and Php90,000.00, respectively, over and above the Php 15,000.00 initial assistance and Php 50,000.00 livelihood assistance that they both received after their surrender last year.
Abra Governor Maria Jocelyn Bernos awarded the checks to the FRs, together with Brigadier General Henry A. Robinson Jr., the Assistant Division Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army; Colonel Audrey L. Pasia, 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade Commander; and, Lieutenant Colonel Jearie Boy P. Faminial, the 24IB Commanding Officer.
The financial assistance awarded were derived from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). Under E-CLIP, FRs can also avail of TESDA's livelihood training, DOJ's legal assistance, CHED and DEPED's educational assistance, DSWD's 4Ps and other benefits offered by other government agencies, in preparation for their reintegration to mainstream society.
To date, the province of Abra has already declared Communists New People's Army Terrorists (CNTs) and their affiliated groups as “persona non grata” in their communities. The same declaration has also been made by 26 of the 27 municipalities of Abra.
Major General Lenard T. Agustin, Commander of 7ID, stated that he is very happy with the result of the Abra PPOC Meeting and is thankful to Governor Bernos and the Abra LGUs for the show of unity and support to EO 70, which is convergence of efforts in ending the local communist armed conflict.
“It is vital that we have the active support of our LGUs for they have direct supervision over the chief executives of the barangays, who, in turn, are familiar to the problems of the people in the communities and those at the grassroots level, which the enemy often takes advantage of. They are the real guardians of the community. We, as the government security forces, can only act and run after the CNTs, based upon their reports. So, we have to act collectively, if we truly want to end local terrorism being spearheaded by CNTs in the province of Abra,” Major General Agustin emphasized.