LAGANGILANG, Abra – More than 60 former rebels in Abra were urged to partner with the government during the distribution of assistance in Lagangilang recently.
The beneficiaries from the different municipalities were oriented about the program that aims to transform the lives of former rebels, their families, and communities towards ending local communist armed conflict.
The Transformation Program is an initiative of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (Opapru), as lead agency of the Localized Peace Engagement Cluster under the Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict institutionalized under Executive Order 70 issued by then President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the recent program orientation, Opapru representative Chrisol Catalino urged the former rebels to help them come up with a master list of former rebels who may avail of the program. Former rebels may also organize themselves into peoples’ organizations, and help mount trainings for the successful implementation of the Transformation Program.
“We have a long way to go. Adu ti aramiden tayo diay transformation program ditoy Abra. Saan nga overnight nga malpas daytoy. We want Abra to be an example nga maipannakel tayo met nga Abra is working on for its transformation program,” he said.
During the orientation, Opapru North Luzon Area Manager Fr. Adonis Bringas said the nationwide transformation program aims to integrate former rebels back to society and help them lead productive lives.
“Daytoy transformation program ket maysa nga programa ti gobierno nga mangurnong kadagiti NPA wenno former rebels nga bimmaba tano ma-integrate wenno ma-mainstream da,” he said.
Bringas said programs and assistance for former rebel beneficiaries in Abra are lined up under the Transformation Program. He said Opapru will create a special project team composed of three personnel that the office will hire.
“Kayat tayo nga agbiag tayo amin. Umay kami ditoy gapu ta adda ti gobierno; tapno maurnos ti former rebels, tapno napintas ti panangisayangkat daytoy programa tayo ,” Bringas added.
As part of the orientation program, the 69 former rebels also received 50 kilos of rice each. The distribution was led by representatives of the Opapru, 24th Infantry Battalion, and Philippine National Police.
Lt/Col. Jose Wilfredo Panes, commanding officer of the 24th IB, said the distribution was part of a bigger initiative towards peace and development.
“Hindi na tayo dapat nag-aaway-away. Magkaisa tayo at nagpapasalamat ako sa pagbalik ninyo sa gobyerno natin. Sana tuloy-tuloy na ang ating transformation program at itong rice distribution ay konting bigay lang ng Opapru,” Panes said. – Jam Malingan