136 ex-rebels receive P2.7M livelihood aid

By Keren Anne V. Bernadas


THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bicol has provided a total of P2.7 million livelihood settlement grants to 136 former rebels (FRs) during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Marissa M. Paeste, Social Welfare Officer IV of DSWD Bicol, said that the grant amounting to P20,000 each will serve as capital to start the FRs livelihood enterprise such as livestock production, and fishing, among others.


These FRs were referred from the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration in Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay and Masbate.


Paeste said DSWD plays a significant role in aiding assistance to FRs. “At dahil nanumbalik na sila sa pamahalaan, kailangan na maiparamdam natin na ang gobyerno ay nariyan para tuloy-tuloy ang pagbabago nila at hindi na muling babalik sa pagiging rebelled.”


DSWD also formulates various programs and psychological support interventions for the FRs not to regress. These aim to deracialize perspectives and lead them towards peace and developments without using arms.


In order to afford proper health education and services, Paeste also said that 11 families of FRs were enrolled to modified conditional cash transfer and regularly receive grants from the department’s protective services for the poor called Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation.


About 377 families of Indigenous People from Albay and Camarines Sur also benefitted from P1.8 million allocated funds through Cash for Building Livelihood Assets.


Paeste added that the public should maintain an open communication and trust that the government has the interest of the people in its heart.


“Meron tayong pamahalaan na may built-in mechanisms para madinig ang grievances ng tao, at may mga services na kaakibat para tugunan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan.”


DSWD is the lead agency of the Basic Services Cluster of the National Task Force in Ending Local Communists Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which was created pursuant to EO 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2018. (PIA5)