Duterte creates task force for rebel returnees

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2018 06:14 AM | Updated as of Jan 14 2019 05:13 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has created a task force that will handle all government efforts at reintegrating former communist rebels into society.

Duterte signed on April 3 Administrative Order (AO) No. 10 creating the Task Force Balik Loob, which will serve as the central coordinating body supervising all reintegration efforts.

The task force is empowered to develop a strategic communication plan and the implementing guidelines for the government’s reintegration efforts, address implementation issues at the national and local levels, and coordinate with concerned local government units to ensure the effective and timely implementation of reintegration efforts.

It is also tasked to provide capability assistance to LGUs, prepare a mechanism that shall be used by government agencies in checking the status of reintegration efforts, and prepare regular consolidated reports on their implementation.

The AO states that the funding of the task force may be sourced from the existing allocation of the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana), a program administered by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), which targets community-based development in conflict-affected areas, as well as the respective budgets of agencies under the task force.

The task force will be headed by a representative from the defense department. The other members of the task force will come from OPAPP, Office of the President, National Housing Authority, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The AO also calls for the enhancement of the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) by providing a complete package of assistance to former rebels. The program will now be known as E-CLIP.

It states that those who have “expressed their desire to abandon the armed struggle and become productive members of society” will be provided benefits from the E-CLIP. Former rebels who surfaced starting July 1, 2016 will be provided benefits from the E-CLIP in addition to the CLIP package they already received.

Duterte has been urging communist rebels to lay down their arms, saying the communist ideology is no longer relevant in today’s world. He would sometimes cite how China, the world’s second-largest economy, has adopted capitalism.

The President in the past weeks has hosted former rebels in Malacañang, where he would cite the hardships a communist rebel has to endure.