By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The local government unit (LGU) of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, through the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) turned over financial and educational assistance amounting to P200,000 to 25 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) last Tuesday.
Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr, along with Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), and Lieutenant Colonel Van Donald Almonte, commander of 94th Infantry Battalion (IB), led the turnover ceremony at the City Hall.
Fifteen rebel returnees received cash assistance of P10,000 each or a total of P150,000, while 10 others received educational assistance amounting to P5,000 each or a total of P50,000. The beneficiaries also received hygiene kits and food packs.
Tongson recognized the efforts of the 94th IB in keeping the peace and order in the hinterland communities of the city.
“Addressing the issues in the hinterland communities takes time, however, the local government is doing their best to deliver the basic services and reach them. Help is on the way,” the local chief executive said.
Pasaporte, in his message, lauded the unwavering support of the 94th IB to former rebels and also congratulated the former rebels for making the right decision in returning to the folds of the law.
The assistance extended by the LGU and the Task Force ELCAC is solid proof that they are sincere in their commitment to allow former rebels to start anew, reintegrate with the community, be able to live normal lives again, and be united with their families and loved ones.
The Army strongly supported this initiative, as they welcome those who want to lay down their arms, Pasaporte said.
Meanwhile, 553 residents denounced their support and condemned the atrocities of the NPA during the community based-dialogue initiated by the Vallehermoso Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC), in partnership with the 62nd IB, and police in Barangay Tabon, Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental last Monday.