Sarangani pilots new amnesty program
Alabel, Sarangani (14 August) -- Sarangani is the pilot province of the Social Integration Program (SIP), an amnesty program whereby former rebels and their dependents are provided a set of interventions to facilitate their integration into mainstream society.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has also picked Sarangani as the venue for the first leg of the SIP information drive nationwide.
SIP is being implemented pursuant to Administrative Order No. 172 promulgated on March 23, 2007 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The program, in contrast to previous amnesty programs of the government, provides increased remuneration for surrendered firearms, explosives and ammunitions.
"For instance, an M16 rifle previously valued at P18,000 is now valued at P50,000 under the SIP," said Atty. Reuben Dasay Lingating, SIP program manager.
"Each former rebel is granted with an immediate assistance allowance of P20,000 while undergoing the process requirements for the grant of socio-economic intervention," Lingating said.
However, Lingating pointed out that the program shall not cover those with pending cases in courts involving crimes against chastity, rape, torture, kidnapping for ransom, use and trafficking of illegal drugs and other crimes for personal ends and violations of international law or convention and protocols, even if alleged to have been committed in pursuit of political beliefs.
Lingating, who briefed the Provincial Peace and Order Council about the program, awarded immediate assistance to 22 former rebels from the province on August 8.
The former rebels had surrendered to 1002nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army from the period March 30, 2007 to July 31, 2008.
An OPAPP press statement said "while some were armed members, others held positions ranging from political guide, vice platoon leader, squad leader, and team leader."
According to the military, most of the rebel returnees were from barangay Datal Anggas in Alabel while others came from the hinterland barangays of Malapatan and Malita, Davao del Sur.
Four who surrendered last week, according to a press release issued by the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, yielded two Garand rifles, a homemade M79 grenade launcher, a 12-gauge shotgun and several ammunitions.
"In an interview, Eufemio Diamante (alias) Janggo said that the government's program is a big help for them as they returned back to their respective communities," the 1002nd Infantry Brigade press release said.
"Janggo narrated that he returned to the folds of the law after he realized that they were only used by the NPAs in the extortion activities which only benefited their commanders," it added. (PIO Sarangani/PIA SarGen) [top]