Gov. Roel Degamo yesterday gave P129,000 as cash assistance to 43 former supporters of the New People’s Army at the headquarters of the 79thInfantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Siaton, Negros Oriental.

Degamo said the grant of cash assistance of P3,000 each to former NPA supporters, or members of the “Yunit Militia”, shows the desire of the provincial government to help address and eradicate the insurgency problem in the province.

“We are seriously attending to the insurgency problem and we expect more NPA rebels/supporters to return to the folds of the law,” he said.

Degamo also said the recipients are expected to receive cash for livelihood from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, under the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program.

Those who received cash assistance were from the barangays of Nagbinlod in Sta. Catalina town, and Cuadra, Mantikil and Tayak in Siaton, Lt. Col. Harry Pascua, commander of the 79thIB said adding that these people were convinced to return to the folds of the law as a result of the Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan”.

“Bayanihan” teams have been deployed to areas identified as insurgency-affected, to attend to and help address the issues and needs of the people.

At least 17 barangays in Negros Oriental remain affected by the insurgency problem, but an evaluation is being done to determine which of them have already been cleared of the problem, he added.*JFP