CAMP DOWNES, ORMOC CITY – Military and local government officials in Samar on Tuesday held a Peace Forum and Dialogue to convince the remaining members of the New People’s Army (NPA) through their families to come down and avail the benefits given by the government through the Enhanced Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

E-CLIP is a government strategy to convince active rebels to return to the fold of the law by providing financial packages and assistance.

The Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) of Samar hopes to ratify the Enhanced Friends Rescued Engagement through their Families (E-FReE Families), a program spearheaded by the Army’s 802nd Infantry (PEERLESS) Brigade in partnership with the Samar Provincial Government.

“The familial influence held by the family and relatives of the remaining active NPA members under Sub-Regional Committee Sesame plays an integral role in our aim to end the armed struggle in Samar through peaceful means,” Brigadier General Noel Vestuir explained during the talks to the families of the NPA rebels.

The E-FReE Families program optimizes the local government’s efforts to link and convince the remaining NPA members through the active participation of the rebel’s families to work for the peaceful surrender of their loved ones and take advantage of the benefits of E-CLIP.
Manneth Lagaras, head of Samar’s Social Welfare and Development Office conveyed the provincial government’s support for the said program. “It is our fervent hope that the current efforts through the engaged families shall work for the surrender of the remaining rebels who are still in the mountains so that they can enjoy the gains of a peaceful life,” Lagaras conveyed Governor Sharee Ann Tan’s message to her constituents.

The forum was also participated in by the different line government agencies which also discussed their programs that the former rebels can avail of. Among those are the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity- Region VIII (OPAPRU-8) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Eastern Visayas.

“Hand in hand with the various clusters of PTF-ELCAC Samar together with other stakeholders and partner agencies, we tirelessly aim for a socio-inclusive society that fosters peace and prosperity both for former rebels, their families, including the remaining active NPAs. Mga kasangkayan, uli na,” Vestuir ended. (PR)