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PGMA’s SIP benefits 15 East Samar former rebels

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 1, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  No less than fifteen (15) former members of the New People’s Army from the different areas of Eastern Samar are the newest beneficiaries of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Social Integration Program for rebel returnees which is being implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Awarding of cash assistance to rebel returnees
(L-R) Cpt. Sergio Sabiano, Jr., CMO officer of 801Bde, Mr. Florentino Somera, Jr., Regional 8 Coordinator of OPAPP, Col. Jaime Ferdinand Hidalgo, Commanding Officer of 14IB, and Mr. Rebamontan Gil, PSWD officer of Eastern Samar during the awarding of cash assistance to the former rebels under Social Integration Program (SIP), March 26, 2010.

First Lieutenant Jeffrex G. Molina, the assistant Chief of the Public Affairs Office of the 8th Infantry Division, informed that the awarding of an initial cash benefit of P20,000 to each of the former rebels was done on March 26, 2010, at the conference Room of the Eastern Samar Provincial Capitol in Borongan City.

The checks were personally handed over to the beneficiaries by Mr. Florentino Somera, Jr., Regional Coordinator of OPAPP in Region VIII, Mr. Rebamontan Gil, Provincial Social Works and Development Officer of Eastern Samar, Captain Sergio Sabiano, Jr., Commanding Officer of 801st Brigade, and Col. Jaime Ferdinand Hidalgo of the 141 Battalion.

Mr. Somera said that the government will continue to review the said program in order to address the much needed support for the former rebels who returned to the folds of the law.

This will encourage more rebels who are still in the underground movement to avail of the program, Mr. Somera said.

Mr. Somera informed that the beneficiaries will also be receiving livelihood benefits that will be awarded as soon as the validation for their papers has been completed.

This was the second time last week that the OPAPP awarded such benefits to former rebels who voluntarily came back into the folds of law.

It would be recalled that a similar activity was conducted in Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office in Catarman, Northern Samar on March 25, where four (4) former rebels were also awarded with the same amount.

The activity was withnessed by the commanding officers of 803Bde, 20IB and 63IB together with Mrs. Carmen Mejia the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer of Northern Samar, who handed over the cash benefits to the former rebels.

Both Provincial Social Welfare and Development officers of the two provinces assured the Army units and the OPAPP representatives that they will continuously assist the former rebels until they are totally re-integrated in the society.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Arthur I. Tabaquero, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to all the stakeholders who shared their part and support to increase the numbers of rebels who turned their backs against the sole reason why peace and development of the country is hard to achieve.

MGen. Tabaquero is also expressed his optimism that with the increasing number of rebels who are showing interest to follow the track of their former comrades in going back to the womb of the government.

Sooner or later, Samar and Leyte provinces will also be declared as insurgency free areas just like Bohol and Cebu which will further boost up their economic condition.

In closing, General Tabaquero once again called upon the brothers and sisters whom he considered as victims of the communist terrorists’ deception, to lay down their arms, and return to the main stream society so that genuine peace and democracy will prevail and will bring forth development in Region 8.