To contribute to the country’s attainment of sustainable peace, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office XII, provided livelihood assistance to some 21 former rebels during a payout at the 12th Special Forces Company Camp, Surallah, South Cotabato in April.
Mark, not his real name, was one of the recipients of a Php 20,000 Livelihood Settlement Grant (LSG) from the Department. He was a former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato who joined the leftist group in 2012 due to a land ownership problem.
“Sukad mibalik ko sa sabakan sa gobyerno, kanunay ang pagtabang sa mga ahensya alang sa kabag-uhan sa among kinabuhi” (Since I started to surrender to the authority, agencies continue to provide assistance to change my life), Mark who surrendered and returned to the fold of the law eight years after his involvement with the NPA, said.
Mark decided to use the assistance as capital to start a piggery business while other LSG beneficiaries used the cash assistance for raising goats and opening sari-sari stores in their respective barangays.
“Nagpasalamat gyud ko nga kanunay gatabang ang DSWD sa amoa ug amo gid gamiton pagtarong ang kwarta” (I thank DSWD for helping us and we will really use the money fairly), Mark added.
The provision of LSG is one of the interventions being provided by DSWD to former rebels under the Track 1 of its implementation of programs in support of Executive Order No. 70 series of 2018. The payout was attended by DSWD Field Office XII Director Restituto Macuto.
“Kami sa DSWD malipayong motabang sa atong mga kaigsuonang mas gipili ang kalinaw ug hangyo namong palambuon ang negosyong napili aron mahaw-as kamo sa kalisod sa kinabuhi,” (We at DSWD are happy to help our brothers and sisters choose a quiet life. We ask that you take care of your livelihood to make your life even more comfortable),” Director Macuto said.
Meanwhile, the former Deputy Secretary of the Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) of the NPA, Noel “Efren” Legaspi was also present in the payout activity. His message centered on the cooperation of the government agencies for the reintegration of former terrorist groups into mainstream society.
The DSWD is committed to taking part in the Whole-of-Nation Approach to attain inclusive and sustainable peace.