Guipos, ZDS – Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito E Sobejana welcomed and accepted the new 9 Former Rebels (FRs) who surrendered to 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion in his visit to this headquarters after the ceremonial ground breaking of new ELCAC projects in Barangay Ocapan, San Miguel town Wednesday July 23, 2020.
In his welcome remarks, 53rd IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera thanked Lt. Gen. Sobejana for his time to see the FRs, saying that they [the FRs] are a proof that the armed group is crumbling and struggling to survive.
“These Former Rebels before you are a proof that the armed group’s leadership is crumbling. They are proof that more and more of them wants to stop, surrender, and be with their families,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
“We will make sure to facilitate their benefits under various government programs and initiatives, including the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP),” added Lt. Col. Herrera.
Five FRs who surrendered to Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion were also presented to Commander, WestMinCom.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Sobejana in his message encouraged the FRs to be productive members of the community.
“We will continue to hone your skills so you will be productive citizens of the community,” said Lt. Gen. Sobejana.
“Welcome back to the society, the community where you truly belong,” Lt. Gen. Sobejana added.
Aside from the former rebels, various high-powered firearms (HPFAs) which were captured by troops of 53rd IB in the recent armed encounters against Communist-NPA terrorists were also presented to Commander, WestMinCom.
“Later on, we will destroy these firearms so they can’t be used again,” said Lt. Gen. Sobejana referring to the firearms in display.
The FRs will be processed and receive benefits under the E-CLIP, including an immediate cash assistance and livelihood assistance amounting to a total of Php 65,000 each FR.
~Press release and photos courtesy of 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion