MANILA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is offering cash and livelihood to lure leftist rebels to abandon the armed struggle and start a new life, according government information posted online on Wednesday.
The government has created a coordinating body, Task Force Balik-Loob, tasked to implement its fresh efforts to reintegrate former rebels into the society.
The program pursues a comprehensive, integrated, community-based national program that is locally-implemented to address the legal status and security of former rebels as well as their economic, social, psychological rehabilitation need.
Duterte has decided to pursue localized peace talks with the New People's Army (NPA) rebels after formal talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) crumbled in June. The NDF is representing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPAs.
The Task Force Balik-Loob has published the benefits that surrendering rebels can avail of under the so-called Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
The benefits include a monetary reward amounting to 191,000 pesos (roughly 3,603 U.S. dollars) broken down into reintegration assistance amounting to 21,000 pesos (roughly 396.19 U.S. dollars), employment assistance amounting to 100,000 pesos (roughly 1,887 U.S. dollars), immediate assistance worth 15,000 pesos (roughly 283 U.S. dollars), livelihood assistance 50,000 pesos (roughly 943 U.S. dollars) and conditional transitional grant of 5,000 pesos (roughly 94 U.S. dollars).
Aside from the monetary incentives, returning rebels will also be paid for every firearms, explosives and ammunitions that they return to the government. "The amount will depend on the condition of the firearms," the body said in its posters.
The government accepts any kind of firearms, according to the poster, including revolver, pistol, shotgun, sub-machine gun, light machine gun, heavy machine gun, grenade launcher, rifle, vintage firearms and even "home-made" guns called "paltik."
Returnees can also get modified conditional cash transfer, housing access to government services, college tuition and stipend, medical assistance, legal assistance and psychosocial assistance.
The Duterte administration has shifted to talk to local NPA commanders after talks with the CPP collapsed.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has earlier said that localized talks are "nationally orchestrated, centrally directed, and locally supervised and implemented," adding that "the constitutional integrity and sovereignty will not be compromised."
"(The aim is) complete and genuine resolution of the local armed conflict. It shall cover the NPA (cadres)," Roque added.
The CPP began its armed struggle in 1969. It has launched ambuscades since in an effort to overthrow the government through guerrilla warfare.
The rebellion reached its peak in 1987 when it boasted 26,000 armed guerrillas. However, the movement has since dwindled due to differences in strategy and tactics and the arrests of many of its top leaders in the late 1980s.
At present the military estimates these armed rebels at around 4,000.
Peace negotiations with the rebels were suspended in 2011. Duterte revived the talks when he assumed office in June 2016.