The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the latest report of the Task Force Balik Loob on the successful reintegration of 37,413 former rebels (FR) and former violent extremists (FVE) back to normal society since 2016. Livelihood and reintegration benefits, as well as firearms remuneration, were also provided for 10,637 of them through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commends these developments and supports the government’s efforts to handle armed conflict through peaceful means. E-CLIP, along with its sister program PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn or PAMANA, shows that insurgencies can be addressed without bloodshed and human rights abuses by instead targeting the causes of conflict, such as poverty, unequal treatment, and marginalization.
Department of National Defense Undersecretary Angelito M. de Leon, chairperson of the TFBL, further reported that they have acquired surrendered weapons worth approximately PHP151 million and provided PHP164.5 million worth of reintegration program benefits to FRs and FVEs, with an additional PHP322.8 million worth of livelihood assistance provided by TFBL’s partner agencies.
Delegating the task of ending insurgency to all sectors of society, programs like E-CLIP and PAMANA promote sustainable peace and development in the form of livelihood, housing, education, and improved access of communities to basic necessities and government services. TFBL—itself composed of multi-sectoral lead agencies covering defense, governance, housing, and peacebuilding—shows that multi-sectoral collaborations serve crucial roles in preventing further violence, conflict, and division.
As the country’s national human rights institution, CHR has repeatedly called for peace and the protection of all people’s right to life, security, and liberty amidst incidents of insurgency-related violence as in the cases of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacks on civilians in Negros  and the NPA’s use of improvised explosives in the vicinity of a public elementary school . These brazen violations of International Humanitarian Law prevent peacebuilding on a nation-wide scale, limiting peace initiatives to local engagements and individuals.
As such, CHR calls for an end of hostilities, inviting anti-government forces to stop their attacks in support of peace efforts, honor the rule of law, and participate in these whole-of-society programs. In the same vein, we continue to urge the Philippine government to amplify holistic and peaceful efforts with human rights at its core in addressing and preventing grievances and issues that fuel conflict . ###