102 rebel returnees avail of Capitol’s livelihood fund

MALAYBALAY CITY –A total of 102 rebel returnees availed the livelihood program of the government through the Provincial Livelihood Office of the Provincial Peace and Development Program (PPDP) of Bukidnon.

On March 29 a total of 102 rebel returnees, 31 from Malaybalay City and 71 from Cabanglasan town, availed the livelihood program.

Gov. Alex Calingasan led the awarding ceremonies. Vice Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, Jr., second District Rep. Florencio Flores, Jr, Malaybalay City Mayor Ignacio Zubiri, Cabanglasan Mayor Rogelio Castillanes, Col. Romeo Gapuz – commanding officer of 403rd brigade and others attended the ceremonies.

Capt. Eduardo Meclat Jr., chief of civil military operations of army’s 403rd Brigade said the ceremonial awarding of cash and livelihood projects was conducted in the Municipal Gymnasium of Cabanglasan town.

The program encouraged all members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels to return to the fold of law,” Meclat said.

Meclat said each rebel returnee received P15,000 cash gift. The rebel returnees also received corn seeds, vegetables seeds and camote vines.

Datu Mangarin Tilucan Jr., reported leader of the NPA and others from Sitio Kauhangan, Canangaan, Cabanglasan town voluntarily surrendered to the military on August 2009. Tilucan and his group demanded among others a farm to market road, a military detachment in their area and school buildings.

On April 16, 2010 the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army turned over to the community a six-kilometer farm to market road in Canangaan village stretching to Sitio Saluringan, a nearby village of Sitio Kauhangan. The said project is under the Kalayaan sa Barangay Program (KBP) of the 4th ID. Sitio Saluringan is about five kilometers away from Sitio Kauhangan.

The 403rd Brigade selected 20 Rebel Returnee including Tilucan for the 45-day training of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) but Tilucan quitted because of alleged maltreatment from the training team of the 23rd Infantry Battalion. Few others also quitted.

Meclat quoted Tilucan as saying during the program that the amount is very much helpful for them to start a new and free life, which they never experienced under the communist party. The rebel returnees who are mostly Lumads claimed they were allegedly deceived by the rebels by promising them to own firearms and a monthly allowance,” Meclat added.

Meclat said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) welcome every rebel who wants to avail of the amnesty program of the government in order for the country to have lasting peace. (Mel B. Madera)




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