“For the system itself, we are gaining grounds. We are winning the war (on insurgency) without firing shots,” Ragay said during the Kapihan sa Benguet forum recently.
Ragay explained that this is through the institutionalization of Executive Order No. 70 or the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict in the country.
EO 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018 called for the institutionalization of a whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.
Ragay said that since he assumed as the Benguet PPO Director in September last year, at least 22 members of the CPP-NPA already surrendered to the government thru the PPO. They turned over their firearms and gave vital information to the authorities during their surrender.
The most recent surrenders to the PPO involved high ranking political officer of the NPA at the Camp Molintas in Buguias and the two combatants who surrendered during the celebration of the 33rd Cordillera Foundation Day.
He said most of the rebel returnees are not from Benguet but mostly from the nearby provinces in the Cordillera region who coordinated with the local leaders, local police officers, Army officials and others members of the community in the province of Benguet to surrender back to the folds of the law.
The former rebels received incentives for their surrendered firearms and they were processed under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in order to receive welfare assistance and livelihood assistance from the government.
Ragay said that at least two have already received their livelihood packages and are now enjoying the benefits under the ECLIP program.
He said that with the success of the whole-of-the nation approach to ELCAC, he calls on other members of the communist groups and their front organizations to surrender to the government authorities and seek for better and more peaceful life lives in the mainstream society. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)
By Redjie Melvic M. Cawis