Return to the fold, avail of gov’t aid, Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. promise

Koronadal City, South Cotabato, July 24-Now that Gov.Reynaldo S. Tamayo Jr. has proclaimed that the hospitalization, medication and education are free for all, he urges the former rebels to encourage others to abandon the armed struggle and return to the government to avail the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Tamayo said the new administration is committed to iron out the government system to give equal opportunities to all South Cotabatenos.

“We are doing this for you to have no reason to fight against the government for everything is free,” the governor said during the turn-over ceremony of PHP1.9 million assistance to 34 rebel surrenderees, Tuesday.

“Marami ng nagbago sa gobyerno. Maraming pagkakataon na ang ginawa upang gampanan nito ang kanyang pagkulalang sa tao,” (There are lot of changes in the government. There are many chances and ways to improve the quality of service needed to serve the people.) Tamayo emphasized.

According to Atty. Michelle Anne Viejo, OIC- Department Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Director, E-CLIP aims to integrate the former rebels to the society and will give programs and interventions to attain the comprehensive lasting peace for a meaningful economic development at the national perspective.

“This is also a community-based national program to address the security, economic, social, psychological rehabilitation needs of former rebels,” she said.

These rebel returnees received three types of Assistance: Firearm Remuneration which depends on the firearm they surrendered; Reintegration Assistance of PHP21, 000; Immediate and Livelihood Assistance of PHP65, 000 and Financial Assistance of PHP15, 000.

Funok (not his full name), who received at least PHP500 million financial assistance, said he was with the NPA for almost four years.

“It was a hard life because we were often moving from one place to another. I will no longer go back to the mountains,” he said, stressing that he is excited to face his new life.

Funok, received a firearms remuneration of PHP472, 000, an Immediate and Livelihood assistance of of PHP65, 000 and Reintegration Assistance of PHP 21,000.

Severino (not his full name), President of the Associaiton of Former Rebels (FR) in South Cotabato, assured to give their full cooperation to the provincial government.

“I believe the government will help us renew our lives,” Severiano added.

The assistance is initiated by the Provincial Government of South Cotabato, through the help of Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and DILG.