Philippines – All they did was to lay down their arms, and got easy money in return.
Not only more than P10,000 cash each, the five communist rebels who decided to go back to government folds will also be given livelihood assistance and free scholarship for their kids as part of the social integration program, according to Lt. Col. Noel Vestuir, commanding ofﬁcer of the 20th Infantry Battalion based in Northern Samar.
“This would enable the former rebels who abandoned their armed struggle and returned to the mainstream of society to once again live normal and decent lives along with their families,” said Vestuir.
Vestuir said the ﬁve rebels were among the recent batch of surrenderees in the province through negotiation with local ofﬁcials and military commanders.
Aside from cash, livelihood program and scholarship, Vestuir said the rebels will also undergo skills development training, counseling, and health services.
The ofﬁcial said that since the local social integration program was started last year in the province, a total of former communist rebels have already availed the benefits.
Vestuir said they hope to encourage more communist rebels to surrender.
He added that they will also providing security for the former and their families to ensure that their former comrades would not be able to exact revenge on them for turning their back to the rebels.
The 4,000-strong New People’s Army has been waging more than four decades of armed struggle against the government. After the negotiation was stalled, the military and other groups have been pushing for localized peace talks with NPA units.(Aaron B. Recuenco)