The provincial government of South Cotabato unveiled on August 18, 2020, a ₱ 5-million halfway house for returning New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
Rudy Jimenea, head executive assistant of South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr., said August 19, 2020, the facility is now fully operational and ready to accept rebel surrenderees.
Jimenea said the halfway house, which was built through a grant from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), will mainly serve as processing center for former rebels as part of the local government’s initiative under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
A provincial government briefer said the two-story halfway house, which is situated within the provincial Animal Production and Processing Center compound in Barangay Tinongcop, Tantangan town, has dormitory rooms, training room, office and several other amenities.
The facility will be used as a temporary home for former rebels as they undergo various processes and interventions under the E-CLIP. All activities related to the program, among them the awarding of assistance and livelihood training, will be conducted at the center.
The inauguration was graced by DILG-Region XII director Josephine Leysa, 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, South Cotabato Vice Gov. Vicente de Jesus, board members Antonio Fungan and Ester Marin Catorce, and Tantangan Mayor Benjamin Figueroa Jr..
Jimenea reiterated the local government’s full support to the E-CLIP and assured that it will continue to assist the returning rebels in the province.
“Through this program, they can be reintegrated back to the community, be with their families, and start over with their new, normal lives,” he said in a statement.
Under the E-CLIP, surrenderees may avail of reintegration assistance worth PHP21,000, immediate assistance of ₱ 15,000, livelihood assistance of ₱ 50,000, firearms remuneration, and other support interventions.
Since last year, over 100 NPA rebels under Guerrilla Fronts 72 and 73 of the NPA-Far South Mindanao Region have surrendered to the government. (Allen Estabillo, Philippine News Agency)