CATBALOGAN CITY – A former high ranking official of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) who surrendered 23 high-powered firearms to the government received Php 650,000 from the Samar’s Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) as the provincial peace panel awarded Php 2.12-million to 17 former rebels.

Ka Dori, who served as the Organizational Department (OD) Secretary and the Second-in-Command in the Guerilla Front Damol operating in the areas of Villareal and Pinabacdao in Samar, was instrumental for the surrender of other guerillas in the two municipalities.

Dori said he did not expect to receive a large sum for his surrender as his only motivation was to live a normal life together with his family and to stop hiding from the military for fear of being caught or killed in an encounter.

“We are very grateful to the Philippine Army that we were able to see the help that the government is offering under the EO70 of Duterte, the ELCAC. The government’s promise to help is true. It will be a big help for us, for our family, and alleviate our economic status since we are back in mainstream society,” he said.

Under the LSIP, the local government will provide Php 25,000 to assist the transition of a surrenderee, Php 50,000 for livelihood assistance, and another Php 25,000 for each firearm surrendered.

Dori, as the OD Secretary, was the Samar Peace Panel’s bridge for the couple, alias “Noli” and alias “Messy” both under GF Damol, and six other CPP-NPA members to surrender and hand over different war material.

GF Damol plays a vital role in the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army’s (CPP-NPA) transport and distribution of war materials and medical supplies to the different units in the region. The said group also caters to key leaders of the Central Committee in the CPP-NPA-NDF organization.

Messy received Php 100, 000 from the provincial peace panel and expressed her gratitude for all the assistance they have received from the government.

Messy is a former Political Guide under Guerilla Front Damol together with her husband Noli, the Vice Commander, who also received Php 100,000.

Messy said she will start a livelihood and send her children to school. She also thanked the soldiers of the 46th Infantry Battalion who helped them to surrender and be reunited with their children whom they had abandoned when they were still active in the armed struggle.

Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan thanked the former rebels for their decision to surrender and lauded the impact of the ELCAC in the province.

“We are expecting them to really support and cooperate with the government. We are expecting that whatever financial assistance na we give to them will be utilized nang maayos at tama, makatulong para mas mag-improve ang buhay nila at pamilya nila,” Tan said.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Edgardo De Leon, commander of the 8th Infantry Division, encouraged the former rebels to help each other and sustain what they have started.

“Ang natanggap niyo ay galing lang yan sa Samar, ang hiling ko lang sa inyo pag-aralan niyo, magtulong-tulong kayo. Ituloy natin ang pagiging organisado pero sa magandang paraan; ang binigay na tulong ng gobyerno gamitin natin itong pang-umpisa,” De Leon told the former rebels. Aside from this financial assistance, the former rebels already received Php 3,000 cash assistance and food packs from the different government agencies and the Local Government Unit. They are also set to receive financial assistance under the National Government’s Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). By Elmer Recuerdo (EV Mail August 22-28, 2022 issue)