36 FRs From 23IB Get ECLIP Financial Aid

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – Thirty-six former rebels (FRs) from the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB) together with fifty-two (52) other FRs received financial assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government last April 14, 2021 at the headquarters of the Police Regional Office in Caraga Region in Barangay Libertad, Butuan City in time with the demilitarization of firearms previously surrendered by the FRs.

Most of the thirty-six (36) FRs from the 23IB are former combatants of Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The thirty-six (36) FRs received a total amount of PHP3,566,800.00 as ECLIP assistance from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). They were also provided with hygiene kits, jerry cans, mosquito nets, and pouches with assorted drugs and medicine by the Department of Health in Caraga (DOH Caraga). The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also provided them with rice, assorted canned goods, coffee, hygiene kits, sleeping kits, and PHP10,000.00 each.

The highlight of the activity was the demilitarization of the two hundred twenty (220) surrendered firearms of the FRs that include twenty-nine (29) M16 rifles, fourteen (14) M14 rifles, seventeen (17) AK47 rifles, twenty-five (25) Garand rifles, fifteen (15) Carbine rifles, fifty (50) Shotguns, eight (8) Cal. 22 Rifles, two (2) M79 rifles, five (5) M2O3 rifles, twenty (20) Cal. 45 pistols, three (3) 9mm pistols, seven (7) Cal. 357 pistols, nineteen (19) .38 revolvers, five (5) KG9MM, and one (1) UZI.

Alias Dansoy was among the FRs from 23IB who received his benefits during the activity. He thanked the government for the opportunity given to him to change his life and return to his family peacefully.

“Nagpasalamat ako ug dako sa atong gobyerno ug sa tanan nga agency hilabi na ang 23rd Infantry Battalion nga naningkamot aron mahan-ay ang among kinabuhi. Sa sulod sa lima ka tuig nga naa ako sa sulod sa NPA wala gyud ko nakadawat og ingon ani nga benipisyo ug wala pod ko nakagunit og ingon ani ka daku nga kwarta,” Dansoy said.

He added: “Ang 23IB nga kanunay nagtabang kanamo wala gayud nagpasagad sa amoa gikan sa panahon nga kami mi surrender. Layo ra kaayo ang trato sa CPP-NPA sa amoa kung itandi nako sa pag trato sa kasundaluhan ug sa gobyerno.”

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the Commanding Officer of 23IB expressed his gratitude to the province of Agusan del Norte for the invaluable support to the Philippine Army. He said that the support of the local government units (LGUs) is a big help for the unit to accomplish its mission.

“I am glad that more and more members of CNTs (Communist NPA Terrorists) are now coming back to the folds of the law and decide to embrace a peaceful life and re-integrate into mainstream society. We urge the remaining members of the CNTS to go back to mainstream society while you still have the chance. We are always willing to help you to live a normal life and we will never hesitate to assist you in availing the programs and services of the government through the ECLIP,” Paulo said.

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