‘Magbalik-loob at bigyan ng bagong pag-asa’ — Bong Go calls for strengthening NTF-ELCAC to support rebel returnees as they reintegrate into their communities

‘Magbalik-loob at bigyan ng bagong pag-asa’ — Bong Go calls for strengthening NTF-ELCAC to support rebel returnees as they reintegrate into their communities

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has urged for the continued provision and enhancement of government initiatives designed to encourage and aid rebel returnees in reintegrating into mainstream society.

“Alam niyo, gaya ng dati, kapag may namatay na sundalo, nasasaktan po ako, sumasakit ang dibdib ko ‘pag may nauulilang pamilya. Habang mayroong nagpapatayan na Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino, nasasaktan po ako dahil mayroong nauulilang pamilyang Pilipino,” said Go in an interview after his visit to Lupon, Davao Oriental on Thursday, December 28.

“Ngayon, dapat yung malalayong barangay, engganyuhin ang mga kababayan natin na naging rebelde na magbalik-loob sa gobyerno,” he stressed.

This call comes after a military engagement in Bukidnon, where nine suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA), including three women, were killed.

The clash in Malaybalay City occurred just hours after the declaration of a unilateral ceasefire by the communist group on Christmas Day.

Senator Go’s emphasis is on the critical need to strengthen programs like the Balik-Loob Program, which operates under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The Balik-Loob Program, officially known as the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), is a critical initiative of the Philippine government. This program is under the management of Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) and acknowledges the significant role played by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in positively impacting the lives of former rebels.

Created by Administrative Order No. 10 in 2018, during the time of former president Rodrigo Duterte, the TFBL serves as the central coordinating body for the government’s reintegration efforts for members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), including their immediate families.

A notable aspect of the Balik-Loob Program is its Balik-Loob Lending Program, which is a credit facility offered by LandBank. This loan program is a key benefit of the E-CLIP. It is designed to assist former rebels in starting or growing their businesses, ultimately aiding in their smooth transition back into civilian life.

According to Go, enhancing the capabilities and reach of the NTF-ELCAC is vital in fostering development in areas impacted by the insurgency.

He added that by accelerating development, the underlying conditions of poverty that often fuel support for rebel groups can be effectively addressed, thereby reducing their influence.

The senator also underscored that by focusing on programs that facilitate the return of rebels to mainstream society, the government aims to create a more inclusive and sustainable path toward peace.

“Kasi kapag na-strengthen po ang NTF-ELCAC, maraming developments sa bundok. Tignan nyo ang Paquibato, Lumian sa Davao City, sementado na. I-strengthen nyo po yan para ma-engganyo po ang barangays na sumuporta sa gobyerno at maipaliwanag, ma-explain ng mabuti doon sa mga nagiging rebelde sa bundok na mas magandang mamuhay dito sa bayan,” Go encouraged.

“Suportahan po natin ang NTF-ELCAC, support Balik-Loob (program) ng gobyerno at bigyan po natin sila ng bagong pag-asa, kung sino po ang gusto na magbalik-loob sa gobyerno,” he added.

 

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