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14 ex-NPA rebel thank gov’t for livelihood aid

By Samuel Toledo

Fourteen former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from different towns of Sorsogon province who were recipients of livelihood starter kits have expressed their gratitude to the government for allowing them to start a new life.

The starter kits distributed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently comprised of jigs, tools, and various equipment worth more than P250,000.

“With grateful hearts, the rebel returnees thanked the government for their starter kits as they now live free of fear and apprehension and with hopes to start their lives anew,” DOLE-Bicol director Joel Gonzales said in an interview.

One of the recipients, “Maria” (not her real name), 48, said: “I was able to join our underground movement because they influenced me. While I was still a student, they already lured me to join them because they were taking shelter and eat food in our house. It was really very difficult to be a rebel, that’s why I thank you all because I am one of those who were handed with this livelihood assistance from DOLE,” she said.

Another beneficiary of the DOLE aid, Jose (not his real name), 43, a two-year course graduate, had been active in the rebel group for five years before he finally left the communist movement.

Through the skills training given by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), he was able to secure a certificate for Shielded Metal Arc Welding.

Marilyn L. Luzuriaga, DOLE Sorsogon provincial director, said “the government through its agencies and units are always willing to help especially for those people who are displaced and marginalized -- DOLE Kabuhayan Starter Kit is one of them”. (PNA)

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