BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Another 24 members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros Central Negros 2 surrendered to the 94th Infantry Battalion, as 25 of their comrades who earlier abandoned the armed struggle received financial assistance from the government in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.
Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, 94IB commander, disclosed yesterday that the former rebels, who were among those welcomed the new surrenders, identified the 24 as active members of the New People’s Army.
Almonte said that the 24 rebels, members of the Sentro de Grabidad Platoon, Central Negros 2, which is under the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, also surrendered three rifle grenades, a fragmentation grenade, four caliber .38 revolvers, two homemade shotguns, an Armscor 12-gauge shotgun and a caliber .22 revolver.
The surrender of 24 rebels was the result of a joint effort of the 94IB, 2nd Negros Occidental Provincial Force Company and other Army intelligence units.
Almonte said that 24 rebels are now being secured by the 94IB for debriefing, prior to their enrollment to the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
On the other hand, the 25 former rebels who recently surrendered to the 94IB, received P250,000 in financial assistance, as well as educational assistance, on November 11 through the City Social Welfare and Development Office in Brgy. 1, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.
Aside from educational assistance, each of the 25 former rebels got P10,000, Almonte said.
Under the E-CLIP, former rebels, or their qualified beneficiaries can receive benefits for guaranteed safety and security, financial assistance and subsistence allowance, food expenses, while under the military or police custody, as well as travel and mobilization expenses.
Almonte thanked to the city government of Himamaylan, under the leadership of Mayor Raymund Tongson, for being a partner of the 94IB in ending the insurgency in Himamaylan City barangays.
The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) reported that the assistance is funded by the office of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and the DSWD regional office in Western Visayas.
Capt. Eduardo Rarugal Jr., 94IB Civil Military Officer, said the amount is the second tranche of assistance released to the recipients, including former combatants and Yunit Militia members who surrendered last July.*