Halfway house for FRs to rise in Alabel

02 Oct 2018
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ALABEL, Sarangani (October 2, 2018) – The construction of a halfway house in Alabel for former rebels (FRs) will start this month with the contract already awarded to the winning bidder.

This facility is where FRs were to be accommodated while still on the process of reintegration to mainstream society.

During the site visit of Defense Usec. Reynaldo Mapagu to the halfway house on July 12, he provided P2 million pesos for the completion of facilities, P5 million budget from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) downloaded earlier, and P1.5 million from the PLGU Sarangani.

The Provincial Local Government Unit of Sarangani (PLGU Sarangani) awarded financial assistance to 12 former New People’s Army rebels under E-CLIP on July 12. Each of them received cheques worth P65,000 (P50,000 for livelihood assistance and P15,000 for immediate assistance).

Upon surrendering, the FRs also gave up their firearms and in return, they were given specific cash amount.

In addition, four FR were also awarded P25,000 each on September 4 at the Capitol Gym during the Peace Partners Summit, for surrendering their firearms.

From January to September 2018, 36 former rebels have already surrendered to the PLGU Sarangani. They were also able to avail of the E-CLIP benefits.

E-CLIP or the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program provides a comprehensive, integrated, community-based national program that is locally-implemented to address the legal status and security of former rebels, as well as their economic, social, psychosocial rehabilitation needs and provide immediate to long-term interventions, which was started on April 2018.

Aside from cash, the FRs also received benefits from regional agencies and national government partners like social assistance from DILG, DSWD, Philhealth, DOH, DepEd, CHED, TESDA, NHA; livelihood assistance from DILG, DOLE, DSWD, DA, DTI, DAR, DENR, DPWH, NCIP, LBP/DBP, AFP/PNP, CDA; security and legal from PNP, AFP, DOJ/PAO; and development of receiving communities from OPAPP (PAMANA).

Alias Junie, 24, said he was thankful for the warm welcome of the government, and that they received assistance instead of hate. “Nagpasalamat ko sa gobyerno nga gihatagan mi’g trabaho. Gitagad pa gyud mi sa among pag surrender ug wala man jud may gibuhat sa amo nga mali. Nindot man pud ang gobyerno,” Junie explained.

The awarding of financial assistance on July 12 was followed by a press call that was paneled by (DILG-NBOO) Dir. Leocadio Trovela, RD PSSUPT. Marcelo Morales, Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon, (chairman of Task Force Balik-loob) Defense Usec. for Civil, Veterans, and Retiree Affairs Reynaldo Mapagu, and 1002nd IB Commander Gen. Roberto Ancan.

Governor Solon was asked about his sentiments on the involvement of the youth to extremism and radicalism. Governor Solon said, “meron talaga tayong proseso with the DSWD para diyan.” The DSWD takes part in preventing this.

Gen. Ancan added that, “aside from that, meron din tayo ditong programa sa AFP, yung Youth for Peace Program na to,” he said. “This is an intervention para sa mga kabataan na hindi sila malihis ng landas.”

Another issue is that, “yung statistics na lumabas, 98% ng surrenderees natin ay galing IP dito sa Sarangani. Naturally, ang susunod na hakbang talaga is i-develop yung IP communities para ma-feel pud sa atong mga katawhan nga parte sila sa atong gobyerno,” Gov. Solon replied about the numerous IPs (Indigenous People) involved.

Moreover, on September 4, Peace Partners Summit 2018 was attended by 100 former rebels at the Capitol Gym. Partner agencies were also present to give details on how they can offer their assistance to the FRs.

In the 2-day summit, FRs and the partner agencies had their reconciliation through simultaneous activities such as games, contests, campfire, basketball, volleyball, spiritual enlightenment, and more.

Governor Solon is supporting their role to community and nation building now that they have chosen to be in the normal state. According to the governor, PLGU Sarangani is willing to give funds if the FRs can form an organization which will relay the advocacy in their respective areas, and convince the rebels to be back in the community.

“Mga kauban nato sa reporma, salamat sa inyong pagbalik sa gobyerno. Basta rest assured, the number one way to cure extreme behavior is to create prosperous communities. So, iyan po ang gagawin natin sa Sarangani. Magiging God-centered at prosperous ang Sarangani.” (Donna Mahusay/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)

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