Livelihood for 86 rebel returnees
After realizing they have no future in the communist insurgency movement, around 86 members of the New People’s Army (NPA), Militia ng Bayan, and political officers of the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) operating in various towns of Abra have surrendered to various units of the Police Regional Office-Cordillera and the Philippine Army.
The returnees once operated or were stationed in the towns of Tubo, Sallapadan, Manabo, Malibcong, Luba, Bucloc, Boliney, and Bucay.
In view of helping the government combat insurgencies in the country, the Department of Labor and Employment-Cordillera headed by Director Nathaniel Lacambra continues its engagement with the National Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) through its various interventions and activities in the region.
The DOLE-Cordillera’s partnership with PRO-Cor under B/Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee and provincial government of Abra through Gov. Maria Jocelyn Valera Bernos and Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos is in support to the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace provided livelihood assistance.
DOLE-Cordillera has released P1,819,947 for the 86 rebel returnees with an aim to reintegrate the beneficiaries into the community to make them productive again and become part of the government’s development agenda.
DOLE-Abra Director Christopher Tugadi will provide each of the former rebels with a livelihood starter kit worth P20,000 under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP)or Kabuhayan Program. PRO-Cor also provided cash assistance to the rebel returnees.
“Ken”, 38 years old, who was a member of the NPA under the KLG AMPIS, surrendered to government forces recently. He will venture into a sari-sari store.
The former rebels thanked the government for attending to their needs on their new way of life, eyeing them as productive individuals in their respective communities, aside from the support to their respective families.
The DILP is a flagship program of DOLE that seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and reduce vulnerability to risks of the working poor, vulnerable, and marginalized workers either through emergency employment, promotion of entrepreneurship, and community enterprises.
The provision of livelihood assistance is part of the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which seeks to attain permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups. Likewise, the program aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of former rebels as productive citizens and to develop the capacities of local government units and national government agencies in the implementation and sustainability of the project.
The other former rebels will engage in agricultural activities such as farming and hog raising and open their sari-sari stores. With the farming tools and materials for hog raising, the beneficiaries will earn more income from their farming activities and the sari-sari store package.
The livelihood assistance also helps bring the government’s anti-insurgency thrust to more remote communities which are often the breeding grounds for local terrorism. With the assistance from DOLE, a lot of rebels have made peace with the government.
The government agencies have complemented all their efforts in attaining sustainable peace to end insurgency in the country.