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More opportunities await former rebels undergoing reintegration – DSWD exec

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Former rebels (FRs) and former violent extremists (FVEs) have more opportunities to sustain their reintegration into mainstream society, a senior official of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) emphasized.

In an interview with “Balik-Loob sa Pagbabago” on DWDD (1134kHz) AFP Radio, DSWD Undersecretary for Inclusive-Sustainable Peace and Special Concerns (ISPSC) Alan A. Tanjusay called on FRs and FVEs to think beyond the immediate assistance they have received under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to fully sustain their transformation.

“Kung sila ay business-minded, sila ay mayroong entrepreneurial drive sa sarili nila para pagandahin ang mga produkto na binebenta o ginagawa nila, mas matagal ang epekto ng Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP),” Usec. Tanjusay said.

(If they are business-minded, if they have the entrepreneurial drive to make the products they are selling more attractive, these will have longer effects on their SLP.)

As part of its contribution to the peace agenda of the Philippine government, the DSWD provides social protection packages to former rebels, empowering and assisting them in their integration.

The agency offers comprehensive support to these individuals, which includes debriefing, psychosocial assistance, transportation, food provisions, and social welfare programs such as the SLP, the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, and thr Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), should they qualify to the existing program guidelines.

Highlighting the impact of the SLP as one of the interventions under E-CLIP, Usec. Tanjusay shared the successful transformation of the KAPATIRAN community in Aklan, which was once a break-away group of the New People’s Army (NPA) but later engaged in negotiations and a peace agreement with the government.

According to the DSWD official, the group transformed its members into successful business owners, who are now running a range of enterprises from a kambingan restaurant to a vendor-gasoline station and coconut oil processing factory.

Recently, the DSWD extended assistance to approximately 700 former Abu Sayyaf Group members, with some of them graduating and becoming qualified beneficiaries of SLP in Jolo, Sulu.

Usec. Tanjusay also underscored the importance of the participation of FRs and FVEs in the reintegration process.

“Hindi mo matutulungan ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap kung wala silang self-realization na magpursigi, magtiyaga. Ang tunay na pagbabago ay i-empower mo ang isang indibidwal at i-develop mo ang kaniyang potensyal,” Usec. Tanjusay explained.

(You cannot help our kababayans who are in need if they lack self-realization to strive and persevere. True change comes when you empower an individual and develop their potential.)

E-CLIP is the holistic package of benefits that former rebels and former violent extremists can avail of, such as livelihood, medical, education, housing, and legal assistance to help them reintegrate and live normal lives in society.

The program is part of the government’s efforts to end communist insurgency through the attainment of just and lasting peace utilizing the whole-of-nation approach as envisioned by Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018.

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