Duterte creates task force for reintegrating communist rebels

MANILA, Philippines – As a way to entice communist rebels to give up their fight against the government, President Rodrigo Duterte created a task force to harmonize and boost reintegration programs for rebels who surrender.

Duterte, on Tuesday, April 3, signed Administrative Order (AO) No. 10 creating Task Force Balik-Loob, in charge of strategizing "reintegration efforts" and coordinating with local governments and other agencies.

The task force will be comprised of officials with the rank of at least undersecretary from the following agencies:

Who is covered?

The same administrative order "enhances" the existing Comprehensive Local Integration Program or CLIP, renaming it E-CLIP.

E-CLIP is supposed to provide "a complete package of assistance to former rebels who were members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army, and National Democratic Front as well as their immediate family members."

Those who may receive such assistance are those who surrendered starting on the date of the effectivity of the order and "expressed their desire to abandon armed struggle and become productive members of society."

But former rebels who surfaced starting July 1, 2016 – or at the start of the Duterte presidency – can still receive E-CLIP benefits aside from benefits they received from the original CLIP.

Duterte signed the AO the day he announced in a speech that he is once again open to talking peace with communists. He had terminated peace talks back in November 2017, angered by an NPA attack that led to the death of a baby.

In the weeks before signing the AO, Duterte had hosted dinners for supposed former NPA rebels in Malacañang. (READ: Lorenzana sets conditions for joint ceasefire with communist rebels) – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.