Press Release
October 4, 2023

Robin Pushes Speedy Processing of Benefits for ASG Surrenderees

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other agencies should lose no time in processing the benefits due to members of armed groups who have surrendered to the government, Sen. Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla stressed Wednesday.

At the hearing on the DILG's 2024 budget, Padilla pointed out that the government has convinced many members of armed groups, including the Abu Sayyaf, to surrender - and they have already helped the government.

"Kasi matagal na sila, ang tagal na nito nag-surrender. Napasa-pasa na galing AFP tapos DILG. Napakahalagang harapin ito at alam kong hinaharap ninyo... Sabi nga nila, to win battles, we have to win hearts and minds. Kung sa labanan lang mahirap patunayan yan, ang kailangan makuha natin puso at kaisipan ng mga rebelde at siyempre po bilang kayo po ang nasa DILG napakahalaga po na mabigyan nyo ng pansin ang mga returnees na ito (They have surrendered long ago, but the processing of their benefits was passed from the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the DILG. It is important to address this. To win battles, we have to win hearts and minds. That includes those of the returnees)," he said.

"Marami tayong napa-surrender. Itong huli, noong nakaraang taon, tinanong natin ang AFP patungkol sa napa-surrender nating mga ASG. Ngayon tinuro nila na nandoon na raw sa DILG (We have convinced many to surrender. We have asked the AFP about the ASG surrenderees and they suggested that we ask the DILG)," he added.

The DILG explained that provincial teams of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) are looking into whether the returnees are bona fide, before extending financial assistance to them.

DILG Sec. Benhur Abalos assured Padilla they will address the issue. "I assure you we will work on this," he said.

Meanwhile, Padilla reminded the Philippine National Police on the importance of sensitivity to Muslims.

He questioned the appointment of a non-Muslim, P/Col. Ronald Tagao, as OIC of the Salaam Police. He said a Muslim must head the Salaam Police. Abalos said Tagao's appointment is temporary because no one qualified has been found for the post.

But Abalos said he will convene the National Police Commission to have an imam from the PNP Chaplain Service head the unit to ensure the spirit of the Salaam Police is followed.

Also, Padilla reminded the PNP to be sensitive to the Muslim tribes, including making sure to assign the right personnel to areas where tribes like the Maranaw at Tausug live.

He said there should be no repeat of a reported incident where policemen entered a mosque without taking off their shoes.

"Parang respeto lang. Ang point nila may court order at kailangan gibain. Nandoon na tayo. Pero nandoon dapat ang respeto. Simbahan pa rin yan. Yan lang naman po. Maging sensitive lang tayo (We need respect. The police in the incident said they were following a court order, but the respect shold still be there. A mosque is a place of worship. We must be sensitive)," he said.


Robin: Bilisan ang Pagproseso sa Benepisyo ng ASG Surrenderees

Kailangang tiyakin ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at ng ibang ahensya ang mabilis na pagproseso ng benepisyo ng mga miyembro ng armadong grupo na nagbalik-loob sa pamahalaan, ayon kay Sen. Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla nitong Miyerkules.

Sa pagdinig ng 2024 budget ng DILG, ipinunto ni Padilla na marami nang nakumbinsi ang pamahalaan na magbalik-loob - kasama na ang myembro ng Abu Sayyaf - at ang mga ito ay nakatulong na sa gobyerno.

"Kasi matagal na sila, ang tagal na nito nag-surrender. Napasa-pasa na galing AFP tapos DILG. Napakahalagang harapin ito at alam kong hinaharap ninyo... Sabi nga nila, to win battles, we have to win hearts and minds. Kung sa labanan lang mahirap patunayan yan, ang kailangan makuha natin puso at kaisipan ng mga rebelde at siyempre po bilang kayo po ang nasa DILG napakahalaga po na mabigyan nyo ng pansin ang mga returnees na ito," aniya.

"Marami tayong napa-surrender. Itong huli, noong nakaraang taon, tinanong natin ang AFP patungkol sa napa-surrender nating mga ASG. Ngayon tinuro nila na nandoon na raw sa DILG," dagdag niya.

Ayon sa DILG, may provincial team ng Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) na tumitingin sa pagka-bona fide ng rebels, bago bigyan ang mga surenderee ng financial assistance.

Iginiit ni DILG Sec. Benhur Abalos na tatrabahuhin nila ito. "I assure you we will work on this," aniya.

Samantala, pinaalala ni Padilla sa Philippine National Police ang kahalagahan ng paging sensitibo sa mga Muslim.

Kanyang kinwestyon ang pagtalaga ng isang non-Muslim, si P/Col. Ronald Tagao, bilang OIC ng Salaam Police. Aniya, mas naaangkop na Muslim ang mamumuno sa Salaam Police. Ayon kay Abalos, temporary ang pagtalaga kay Tagao dahil wala pang kwalipikado sa pwesto sa ngayon.

Nangako si Abalos na pupulungin niya ang National Police Commission na gawing temporary na pinuno ang imam sa PNP Chaplain Service na para tiyakin na masunod ang diwa ng Salaam Police.

Pinaalala rin ni Padilla sa PNP na maging sensitibo sa mga tribong Muslim, kasama ang pagtiyak na tama ang pagtalaga ng tao sa mga lugar ng mga tribo tulad ng Maranaw at Tausug.

Aniya, hindi na dapat maulit ang insidente kung saang pumasok sa mosque ang pulis na hindi pa tinanggal ang sapatos.

"Parang respeto lang. Ang point nila may court order at kailangan gibain. Nandoon na tayo. Pero nandoon dapat ang respeto. Simbahan pa rin yan. Yan lang naman po. Maging sensitive lang tayo," aniya.

*****

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ydIapMCfmY

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