The Philippine Military photoshops their way to corruption
The Philippine Army humiliates itself after netizens quickly spotted that the released photos to the media showing at least 306 rebel surrenderees are fake and badly edited.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the oldest and broadest alliance of campus publications in Southeast Asia, condemns this deceptive act of the Philippine Army for releasing digitally manipulated photos of “rebel surrenderees” to malign the people.
Rebel surrenderees have the chance to “return to the folds of the law” and undergo a program called Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. E-CLIP takes off from the Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the DILG and the PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan-Peaceful and Resilient Communities) program of the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP). These two programs are centralized under Task Force Balik Loob through the Administrative Order 10 released under the Duterte administration in April 2018.
The cash assistance mandated by the order is P65,000. Of this amount, P15,000 is the immediate cash assistance while the surrendered rebels are in the process of enrolment to the E-CLIP. After acceptance to the program, they will then receive the additional P50,000 livelihood assistance. PNP units and LGUs process the enrolment period and as middlemen, they receive P7,000 cash assistance for the board and lodging of surrenderees. This year, the amount PNP units and LGUs will receive increased to P21,000.
According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) January 2019 report, 8,367 rebels surrendered from July 1, 2016, until December 28, 2018. In their January 2019 statement, 1,117 are enrolled under E-CLIP. In August, they say 2,129 enrolled under the program, where 1,139 received immediate financial assistance and 1,433 livelihood assistance.
In recent reports, alleged rebels surrender in thousands. This means the millions’ worth of pesos is spent for assistance. But just last September, the corruption in the program was exposed.
A certain Joselito Naag was presented as an NPA surrenderee with a P100,00 worth of bounty. But it turned out he was part of the military.
Apart from the P100,000 bounty, where will the P65,000 assistance go?
“The government keeps on promising to crush the armed insurgency. They also continuously release reports that thousands of members of the NPA have already surrendered. Ending insurgency remains their top priority when millions of Filipino families are starving and are dying because of state policies,” said CEGP national president Daryl Angelo Baybado.
According to the official publication of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the campaign to lure rebels “into the fold of the law” and the mock of “influx” of alleged surrenderees are designed to fatten the bureaucrats’ pocket through the taxpayers’ money.
Based on reports the NDFP received from barangays and communities in the regions, those compelled to surrender were promised P65,000 each. Some of the “surrenderees”, however, only received P5,000 while the majority were left empty-handed.
The proliferation of fake rebel surrenderees should be condemned especially because they parade innocent people who are already bereft of basic social services.