Gov’t beefs up anti-insurgency efforts; commits sustained aid to former rebels

The government continues to beef up its anti-insurgency efforts as it commits sustained aid to former rebels. 

National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Regional Director Maria Luisa De Guzman said that through the collaboration of various agencies, the government is able to identify areas in Central Luzon that need to be reached out and cleared of infiltration from communist-terrorist groups (CTGs). 

“We have what we call the Retooled Community Support Program, which is primarily a joint effort of Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Here, we really go down to the barangays to connect to the people so that we know their concerns,” she said. 

Through this, the government is able to deliver definite programs that will aid former rebels and their families including livelihood and scholarship opportunities. 

Recently, De Guzman said 49 former rebels in Aurora withdrew support to the CTGs and are set to receive assistance from different national government agencies. 

“Because of this, we are able to encourage more former rebels to be mainstreamed again in the government because according to them, they are tired of violence. They say through this, they now feel that the government is really working to provide an alternative means for them to survive,” De Guzman said. 

However, she stressed the need for sustainability of programs for former rebels to prevent them from returning to the CTGs.  

The official acknowledged the need for more efforts in order to protect the gains of the government. 

“The projects that government should make available to them should be continuous. For instance, in Aurora, Department of Trade and Industry assists former rebels to receive livelihood package worth P25,000 each. We really have to cure that within the government and let them feel that our concern is genuine,” she said.

To ensure sustainability, De Guzman said the AFP has organized monitoring committees in the different areas, with the different line agencies as members so that they can assess what needs to be improved and to share best practices. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)