PAGADIAN CITY – DILG Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. led the awarding of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) Financial Assistance to Friends Rescued in Zamboanga Peninsula on August 12, 2022, at the Pavilion Hall, Provincial Government Complex, Dao, Pagadian City.

Accompanying the SILG are Undersecretary for Local Governance Mario L. Iringan, CESO III; DILG IX  Regional Director Paisal O. Abutazil, CESO III; Philippine National Police – Police Regional Office (PNP-PRO) IX Regional Director PBGEN Franco P. Simborio; Philippine Army 1st Infantry Division Commander BGEN Antonio G. Nafarrete; 102nd IB Brigade Commander BGEN Leonel Nicolas and Zamboanga del Sur Governor Victor J. Yu.

There are a total of 27 rebel returnees addressed as Friends Rescued (FRs) in Zamboanga Peninsula – 17 from Zamboanga del Norte, 4 from Zamboanga Sibugay and 6 from Zamboanga del Sur. A total of Php 3,065,400.00 were awarded by the DILG-administered E-CLIP Benefit Package. Further, a total of 72 turned-in firearms are presented for demilitarization.

E-CLIP is a government program under Executive Order No. 70, signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte, and sustained by the Marcos administration. E-CLIP is an integrated community-based national program serving as an avenue in reaching out to the members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), to aid their economic, social, and psychological rehabilitation needs. The 27 FRs pledged their allegiance to the Philippine government during the event as a promise to embrace peace.

The DILG Secretary Benjamin C. Abalos Jr. expressed his gratitude during the event, giving a chance to the Friend Rescued Ms. Marbie R. Nano to share her story to the audience. He added that her tale should serve as inspiration for everyone.

“Ang dami kong pinagsisihan kung bakit ako napabilang sa NPA. Sa hirap na aking naranasan, hiningi ko sa Panginoon na makabalik sa aking pamilya. Nagpapasalamat ako sa 53rd IB na kumuha sa amin at naging daan ng aking pagbabalik loob. Keep fighting, mag-aral po tayo para mabago ang buhay natin.” said Marbie.

To conclude his message, SILG Abalos reassured the CPP-NPA-NDF and Friends Rescued, “Hangad ng gobyerno na magkaroon ng kapayapaan at magkaroon ng pagkakaisa sa ating bansa, kasama ang ating mga partner agencies.”