TACLOBAN CITY, Feb. 12 (PNA) — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Pedro Noval Jr. is calling on rebels in Eastern Visayas to lay down their arms and join development efforts.

In the region, the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of DILG is now underway, which aims to help communist rebels change their course from fighting and hiding to being productive citizens.

The CLIP program comprises as well the safety and security guarantees, immediate assistance, livelihood assistance, firearms remuneration, and healing and reconciliation initiatives. All these have corresponding cash supports.

CLIP is connectedly done by different agencies including the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), local government units, peace and order councils, Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Records show that there are 26 applications of rebel returnees in Northern Samar, eight in Eastern Samar, and three in Leyte.

The DILG regional office is now waiting for the applications of other rebel returnees coming from different provinces in the region. The government is bound to provide rebel returnees compensation for the surrendering firearms and start a livelihood.

Noval explained that regular members of the NPA who have expressed the desire to abandon armed violence, and be productive members of the society including their spouses, partners and children can avail of the CLIP program.

“People in the region, regardless of their political ideology and beliefs should turn to each other to find a peaceful solution for our country. Everyone’s wishes are not very different. They want their own happiness and prosperity, as well as to live in a peaceful country,” Noval added. (PNA)