Duterte leads oath of allegiance for 668 ex-communist rebels

Rambo Talabong
The oath is one of the final steps toward claiming financial help from the government in their return to 'mainstream society'

RETURN. Duterte leads the oath of allegiance for former communist rebels in Davao City. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, December 21, led the oath of allegiance for 668 communist rebels who surrendered this year.

Dubbed “Pinaghuisa para sa Kalinaw” or Unity for Peace, the oath was recited at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Davao City.

It is one of the the final steps for them to qualify for the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

With CLIP, former communist rebels will get P15,000, a P50,000 livelihood grant, and an additional pay for their surrendered firearms ranging from P12,000 to P210,000.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana accompanied Duterte at the event. The defense secretary reportedly talked to the former insurgents.

National and local government agencies conducted social services, health, infrastructure, livelihood, education, social justice, and governance seminars.

The ex-combatants hailed from the provinces of Agusan, Bukidnon, Surigao, Davao, Cotabato, and Sarangani, most of whom were former members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Soldiers pooled from the ex-rebels 265 high and low-powered firearms, inspected by Duterte during the event.

The activity, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said in a statement, aims to provide the basic needs of former mutineers and help them start a “reformed life away from armed struggle.”

“With debriefing seminars, livelihood programs and cash assistance, former rebels were given a chance to be reintegrated in the mainstream society,” the AFP added.

The meeting comes just two weeks after Duterte declared the NPA as a terrorist organization, and a day after the President announced a Christmas ceasefire with communist rebels. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.