After months of hiding and running away from the government troops in the mountain areas of Panay Island, Dix and Pab (not their real names) as well as four other members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) finally decided to return to the folds of the law.
They were all welcomed by Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao and other members of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict (ELCAC) during the recent meeting of the Peace and Order Council in San Jose town, here.
“It was really hard when you're hiding and running away to escape the government troops,” said Dix in an interview.
Dix nearly quit school, when he joined the CTGs.
“I am thankful that I was given the chance to surrender to government troops,” he said.
Looking forward to a new life, Dix has returned to school and he is now in Grade 12 taking the Technology and Livelihood Education Strand – electronics-related course.
When he graduates, he is dreaming of serving the government through the Philippine Army.
Pab, another FR in his 30s, also finds strength in coming back to the folds of the law.
He testified that he can’t withstand the struggle in the mountain with the CTGs that could lead him to uncertainty and worst-- death.
With his surrender to the government, he was given financial assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).
The four others who surrendered with Dix and Pab also availed of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) depending on their classification as regular CTG members or as militia groups.
Aside from E-CLIP, the FRs also received livelihood support from different agencies of government like the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Labor and Employment, Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Aside from E-CLIP, the FRs also received livelihood support from different agencies of government like the Departments of
Social Welfare and Development, Labor and Employment, Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The municipal and provincial governments also provided them with cash assistance through the Aid to Individual in Crisis Situation (AICS), food packs and free medical consultation.
Cadiao, during the meeting of the Peace and Order Council, assured the FRs that they will be assisted as provided under the law.
She likewise, encouraged more FRs to come down and avail of government assistance so they could start their life anew with their families and friends.
The Provincial Task Force ELCAC with its convenor, Peace and Order and Public Safety Consultant Margie Gadian, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, TESDA and all other agencies of government have shared enthusiasm to help the documentary requirement of the FRs so they could return to the folds of government ans start a new life.
Pab said he was given "Pangkabuhayan" showcase from DOLE and sustainable support from DSWD which he used to start his mini-grocery business being helped by her sister.
He also cited the support of the Municipal Government of Sibalom for some of their needs.
To Dix, the cash assistance he received from E-CLIP would help him a lot to finish his studies and could be his passport to his dreams of serving the government.
James Rubino of the PSWDO-Antique has already facilitated the assistance to 52 former rebels who have decided to return to the government. (JBG/PSM/PIA-Antique)