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Over 1,100 ex-rebels receive government aid – DILG

Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
Over 1,100 ex-rebels receive government aid â DILG
This photo shows then-MMDA chair Benhur Abalos, current interior chief.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Around 1,100 former rebels have received assistance since the start of the Marcos administration, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos said this showed that the current administration is committed to addressing the insurgency and helping former rebels to be reintegrated into society.

“Through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration or E-CLIP, we have helped more than 1,100 former rebels get back into the folds of society since July 1,” Abalos said in a statement yesterday.

The E-CLIP provides livelihood, education, housing, medical and other social services to help former rebels.

It aims to reframe the problem on insurgency into a broader social and economic concern as well as injustice, instead of a pure security and military crisis.

Last November, over P45 million worth of assistance was granted, covering 611 former rebels and their families.

Meanwhile, Abalos said the crime rate incidence has decreased by 72.33 percent in the third quarter of this year since the Marcos administration assumed office.

The figure posted an overall decrease in the number of crimes including murder, rape, robbery and carnapping from July 1 to Sept. 30.

Abalos said this was part of the peace and order initiatives of the administration.

Welcomed

The Commission on Human Rights has welcomed the DILG’s commitment to a more holistic approach in addressing the drug problem in the country, but stressed that those responsible for extrajudicial killings in connection with the previous and current administrations’ war on drugs must still be held accountable.

“The CHR has always advocated for a holistic, multi-sectoral and human rights-based approach in genuinely tackling the root causes of the drug problem in the country. As such, we express hope in the new ‘Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan’ or BIDA program, which seeks to combat the drug problem through demand reduction and rehabilitation of persons who use drugs,” the CHR said in a press statement yesterday.

The CHR issued the statement after Abalos vowed to implement the new BIDA program “within the framework of the law and with respect for human rights and with focus on rehabilitation and socio-economic development.”
It commended the BIDA’s focus on the “restorative justice” approach in combating illegal drugs.

“Through faithful adoption of rights-based perspectives, this approach can help ensure the physical, psychological and social capability of persons who use drugs, thus reducing their propensity to resort to drugs in coping with problems and life challenges,” the CHR pointed out.

It noted the BIDA program’s aim of involving the local and national government agencies as well as other sectors in fighting narcotics and rehabilitating drug users. –  Elizabeth Marcelo

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