More rebels return to mainstream
Iloilo City (24 June) -- The government has succeeded in implementing the Social Integration Program (SIP) under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) as evidenced by the increasing number of rebels who recently availed of the program.
Atty. Rueben Lingating, SIP Manager of the OPAPP, disclosed during the recent Regional KALAHI Convergence Group in Western Visayas that around 548 rebels nationwide have returned to the mainstream society as of June 8, 2009.
Of that figure 69 rebels from Western Visayas and Negros Oriental have availed of the program as indicated in the OPAPP report.
The province of Capiz has registered the most number of rebel returnees with 27, Negros Oriental with 16, Negros Occidental with 13, Iloilo with 10, Aklan with 2 and Antique with 1.
Lingating said SIP aims to give former rebels the chance to voluntary rejoin the mainstream of society through a sustainable process by granting them set of interventions.
Qualified in the SIP are those rebels who have surfaced on or after March 23, 2007 with no pending cases in Courts for acts that cannot be considered as one committed in pursuit of political beliefs.
A cash assistance of P20,000 is given to rebel returnees and their families to be used for their immediate needs as they reintegrate in the mainstream of society under the program.
Lingating said additional amount will be given to former rebels who turned their firearms. The firearms will be destroyed after the National Commission on Social Integration had developed the mode of destruction that it will employ.
"There are plans to convert these surrendered firearms into productive instruments," explained Lingating.
Also, under SIP, rebel returnees will receive P50,000 worth of capital goods after they have completed their training from partner agencies for their chosen livelihood projects.
"The government is just here, ready to receive our rebels who would like to return to the fold of the law," said Lingating who added that the program is in consonance with the lasting peace being pursued by the present administration. (PIA) [top]