The Armed Forces of the Philippines is offering cash incentives and livelihood programs to members of the New People’s Army, who surrender with their firearms, under its Guns for Peace Program.
Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, 3rd Infantry Division commander, yesterday said the firearms remuneration package is intended to support the rebel returnees and their families, as they slowly integrate themselves into mainstream society.
Mabanta said the AFP will pay P200,000 for light machine guns, P60,000 for M-14 assault rifle, P50,000 for Colt M-16 armalite rifle, and P40,000 for M-203 grenade launcher.
The rebel returnees will also be able to avail of government livelihood programs, from the comprehensive local integration program, that includes immediate cash assistance ranging from P5,000 to P15,000, he added.
Two weeks ago, two ranking rebel leaders gave themselves up to the 47th Infantry Battalion in Candoni, Negros Occidental, and surrendered an M-16 assault rifle and three 12-gauge shotguns.
Military records show that 36 NPA rebels have surrendered to 3ID units in Negros and Panay, and 22 of them gave themselves up in the first quarter of this year.
The provincial government of Negros Occidental has extended almost P1 million in financial and livelihood assistance to 80 rebel returnees, who surrendered to the 303rd Infantry Brigade since 2010.
Mabanta said they have received many surrender feelers from the NPA members, who say they are already tired of hiding in the mountains, and now want to live a normal life with their families.*GPB
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