Fifteen more former members of the New People’s Army who have abandoned the armed struggle, yesterday availed of livelihood and financial assistance from the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
The 15 rebels, including two couples, brought to 55 the number of former NPA rebels who have surrendered to the military in Negros Occidental, since the middle of last year, military records show.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday lauded the decision of the 15 former rebels, who are residents of the hinterlands of Cauayan and Sipalay City, to join the mainstream and live normal lives with their families.
One of the 15 rebel returnees identified as Eleazar Mamigo joined the NPA in 1982 and was a squad leader before he surrendered.
Marañon, assisted by Lactao, distributed P150,000 in livelihood assistance, including the P5,000 they received from the provincial government.
The livelihood assistance includes 400 heads of week-old chickens, 15 piglets for fattening, six bags of hog grower feeds and chick booster mash, and veterinary drugs, among others.
Similar livelihood and financial assistance were earlier availed of by the 31 rebel returnees.
The 15 rebel returnees thanked Marañon for giving them a chance to live a normal life with their families, to the extent of also providing them with livelihood assistance.
Marañon also encouraged the rebel returnees to ensure that their children go to school, stressing that education will help uplift their standard of living.
He said he will also relay the housing concerns of some rebel returnees in Cauayan to Mayor John Rey Tabujara.*GPB