VIGAN CITY, August 8 (PIA) — A high ranking official of the Philippine Army assured the immediate provision of security and livelihood assistance for the three People’s Army (NPA) rebel returnees from Abra province for them to start with a new life.
In a phone interview yesterday morning (Tuesday), Colonel Eliseo C Posadas, Commander of the army’s 503rd Brigade, said he is exhausting all efforts to help the three newly–surrendered rebels to avail the appropriate assistance from the government as well as their smooth reintegration to the community through the local “Kabsat Ko-Ipateg Ko Program.”
Posadas named the NPA rebel returnees as Robert (Batello) A. Guiawan, 22, AKA Nardo/Philip/Denver, Vice Team Leader of Kilusang Larangang North (SEKIFA) and resident of Sitio Pudtol, Mataragan, Malibcong, Abra; Salcedo D. Dappay, 21, AKA Ronron, a member of KilusangLarangan North and resident of Barangay Baoyan, Boliney, Abra; and Jeffrey Mauro Gupaal Jr. AKA Awi.
“I am now working for the requirements for the immediate provision of financial assistance for them (the three rebel returnees) through the Local Integration Program (LIP) implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) of the Aquino administration,” Col. Posadas said.
“Each rebel returnee is entitled to receive a financial and livelihood assistance from the government to start with a new life,” he added.
The three NPA rebels surrendered thru the negotiation made by Abra’s Malibcong town Mayor Benido Bacuyag at his residence in Brgy Patucannay, Tayum town.
“Since January this year, all units under the control of the army’s 503rd Brigade operating in Abra Province have been vigorously advocating the peace campaign of the government side-by-side with the conduct of community works. Most of the activities of our troops in Abra were focused on providing assistance to the far flung barangays especially those that were frequented by the NPA guerillas. These activities had contributed much in pressuring and convincing the armed groups to lay down their firearms and surrender. It gives them the idea that their struggle is futile,” Posadas said.
The three rebel returnees said that most of their companions wanted to lay down their arms and enjoy a normal life but are afraid that they might suffer the fate of others who were later killed by their former comrades branding them as traitors to the revolution,” he disclosed.
Earlier, a total of P733,000 was awarded to 17 New People’s Army (NPA) rebel returnees in a simple ceremony held recently at the social hall of the provincial capitol in Bangued, Abra. The cash assistance was provided for the rebel returnees by the Aquino administration through the LIP of the OPAPP. (ANL/FGL-PIA 1 Ilocos Sur)