Twenty former members of the New Peoples’ Army have already been given cash assistance and other interventions after surrendering to the Balik-Loob Assistance Center of the 60th Infantry Battalion in Loreto, Agusan del Sur.
The 20 former rebels surrendered to the battalion between Jan. 25 to Feb. 4, all of them bringing along their firearms.
1Lt. Amadeuz VJ Celestial, the civil-military operations officer of the 60th IB, said said each one of them were given P20,000 by Loreto Mayor Lorife Magadan, as they await the assistance from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
On the other hand, Lap Paz, Agusan del Sur Mayor Michael Lim also provided the former rebels and their families with subsistence allowance. The local governmnet is also actively backing the Community Support Program of the 60th IB in the conflict-affected Barangay Kasapa 2.
The former rebels also underwent an orientation on agricultural livelihood prospects and distribution of initial livelihood starter packs by LGU Loreto and the local office of the Department of Agriculture; distribution of P5,000 checks to each of the surrenderees by the Agusan del Sur Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.
The rebels and their families were also given complete medical and psychosocial assistance by the concerned LGUs.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Ronaldo Sarmiento, 60th IB commander, reported that they are also “gaining ground with [our] ongoing Community Support Program in the conflict-affected, boundary-areas of Loreto and La Paz.”
“With our continued collaboration with the LGUs and the cooperation of the communities where we are currently focusing our efforts, we are expecting to gain more surrenders from the ranks of both NPA regulars and supporters. [And] We mean to do this while also directing the much-needed services, programs, and projects into these same communities ASAP,” Sarmiento added.
The 60th IB together and different military units recently figured in a series of armed clashes and pursuits against members of the CPP-NPA’s Guerrilla Front 3 and Pulang Bagani Command 4, Sub-Regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Command in the boundary areas of Loreto and La Paz towns in Agusan Sur.
The military operations resulted in the killing of several rebels, the recovery of numerous firearms, improvised explosive devices, and subversive documents.