More than 600 former rebels have benefited from the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) which covers livelihood, education, housing, medical and other social services crucial to their reintegration into society.
Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the returnees and their families received a total of P45.79-million in financial and livelihood assistance since July 2022 under the program.
“Wars are won by the hearts of the people. We need to reframe our focus on viewing insurgency as purely security and military concern into a much broader social, economic concern and injustice,” said Abalos in a speech during the recent Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) Summit at Widus Hotel in Clark.
Abalos urged local government units to work closely with the national government in nipping insurgency from the roots by prioritizing programs, projects and activities that are responsive, socially inclusive, and involve the active participation of different sectors to pursue the country’s peace agenda.
He cited the institutionalization of the whole-of-nation approach in Executive Order 70 as the game changer in addressing the ills of the society including poverty, social inequality, and historical injustice among others.
The DILG chief said there are 1,019 completed SBDP projects in insurgency-cleared far-flung barangays last year that have already made a huge difference in the lives of beneficiaries.
He said these much-needed infrastructure and social development packages funded by SBDP are those identified by the communities themselves when they crafted their enhanced barangay development programs e-BDPs in priority insurgency-cleared barangays.
Abalos said funds have also been released for the implementation of another 1,658 SBDP projects this year which includes farm-to-market roads, health stations, school buildings, electrification, livelihood, and various forms of assistance for the beneficiaries.
Because of the active engagement of all sectors of the society in the peace agenda, Abalos also said the number of active communist guerilla fronts massively decreased from 89 down to five and that some 3,207 geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas have completed the capacity development initiatives of the Retooled Community Support Program.
Abalos assured local officials that the DILG and President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. are one with the LGUs in ensuring that all the barangays, cities, municipalities, and provinces institutionalize the peace agenda in their plans and pursue programs and activities that will help facilitate the responsive delivery of basic services. Joel E. Zurbano