TACLOBAN CITY – At least 104 former rebels in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar have received cash assistance from the government for participating in an emergency employment program.

A ceremony held Tuesday in Lope De Vega town awarded PHP924,000 cash to 264 beneficiaries, including the 104 New People’s Army (NPA) surrenderers to the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police units in the province.

Philippine Army 43rd Infantry Battalion spokesperson 1st Lt. Benigno Lopez, Jr. lauded the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the local government for enlisting former members of the NPA in the program.

“This is a way to make them productive as they start a new life after engaging in a senseless armed struggle. We want to forge partnership with more government agencies to help our former rebels,” Lopez said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

These former rebels residing in the town’s five villages with insurgency problems in the past are members of people’s organization formed by the Army’s 43rd Infantry Battalion in 2021.

Each beneficiary received cash worth PHP3,500 as compensation for their work in the community.

The assistance is part of the DOLE’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD, a community-based package of assistance that provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers, for a minimum period of 10 days, but not to exceed a maximum of 30 days, depending on the nature of work to be performed.