‘DIVIDENDS OF PEACE.’ Task Force Balik-Loob Chairperson Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu gave the order to continue demilitarizing, or destroying, firearms that FRs surrendered after they return to the side of the government, that are presently in the safekeeping of the PNP.
Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu, who heads Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL), encouraged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to continue demilitarizing the firearms surrendered by former communist terrorist group members when they returned to the fold of the government. Demilitarization is the process of destroying firearms to make them unusable by cutting them into several pieces or bending or deforming each firearm.
This is one important guidance issued by Undersecretary Mapagu to the members and stakeholders of TFBL in a meeting held on 17 August 2021, at Camp General Macario Peralta, Jr. in Jamindan, Capiz, hosted by the 3rd Infantry Division led by its commander, Lieutenant General Eric Vinoya.
Under the safekeeping of the PNP, some of the firearms are to be used in courts as evidence in on-going trials of crimes committed by the former rebels, while the rest are to be demilitarized or destroyed. The TFBL Chair emphasized that demilitarization will ensure that the firearms surrendered by former rebels, for which the government has remunerated them for, will not fall into the wrong hands and be used in any illegal activities.
According to Undersecretary Mapagu, only those “which are going to be used as evidence in court proceedings are to be kept; all the rest need to be demilitarized.” He added that when the cases are settled, even those used as evidence in court “must be destroyed as well. So we must continue to demilitarize all surrendered firearms.”
During the meeting, Undersecretary Mapagu also congratulated all the members and stakeholders for their hard work and deep commitment in making a change in the lives of FRs. He especially commended the local chief executives for leading the activities and projects for the FRs, saying that without their valuable support and initiatives, TFBL and its umbrella program, the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) will not be as successful.
As of July 30, 2021, TFBL through the lead and partner agencies, has already granted various assistance, including cash, livelihood, training and housing benefits, to 6,418 FRs amounting to almost PHP490 million.