Sunday, September 13, 2020

60 FRs from AgNor receive livelihood assistance

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – A total of sixty (60) former rebels (FRs) from the different municipalities in Agusan del Norte received government support through the Livelihood Settlement Grant program in a ceremony held on September 11, 2020, at the Provincial Covered Court, Capitol Compound, Butuan City.

Of the total number of FRs granted with aid, thirty-six (36) are currently housed at the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion while the other twenty-four (24) are temporarily staying in the 29th Infantry Battalion.

Each eligible FR received financial assistance in the amount of PHP20,000 to support the establishment or continuity of their livelihood upon their reintegration to their respective communities.

The distribution of livelihood assistance was graced by Agusan del Norte Governor Dale B. Corvera, Agusan del Norte 2nd District Rep. Ma. Angelica Amante-Matba, Mayor Norbert B. Pagaspas of Buenavista town, SP Member Elizabeth Marie R. Calo, DSWD CARAGA Director Ramel F. Jamen, PSWD Agusan del Norte Director Silver Joy B. Tejano, TESDA Agusan del Norte Director Rey M. Cueva, Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commander of 23rd IB and Maj. Roger Gersava of 29th IB.

The SLG is a capability-building program that provides access to opportunities to help improve the socio-economic conditions of former combatants of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorist (CNT) through accessing and acquiring necessary assets to engage and maintain thriving livelihoods.

LSG is a process intended for the provision of livelihood to the FR beneficiaries under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which aligns with the mandate of Executive Order 70 that institutionalized the Whole-of-Nation approach to end the local communist armed conflict.

Rep. Matba, in her statement, expressed gratitude to the former CNT combatants who bravely made the decision to abandon the communist movement and return to the folds of the law.

“The provincial government of Agusan del Norte is always ready to help and develop you in order for you to be confident with yourselves when you return to your respective communities. Always remember that this financial assistance you receive today cannot sustain your needs for a lifetime that is why I encourage you to use it wisely,” Cong. Amante-Matba said.

Gov. Corvera thanked the DSWD for the agency’s untiring efforts to find ways to support the former CNT combatants.

“Ang inyong nadawat nga financial assistance karon nga gihatag sa gobyerno inyo ning tarungong pag gamit kay kini nga kwarta sama lang ni sya sa isa ka liso nga gitisok sa gobyerno aron inyong patuboon para sa inyong kaugmaon. Anaa ninyo ang tanan, kung inyo bang patyon ang liso o inyo ba ning buhion. Kining tanan gibuhat sa gobyerno aron kamo nga mga FRs makabaton og kinasing kasing nga panghunahuna, nga atong gobyerno wala mag pasagad kaninyo kay walay kauswagan kung walay kalinaw ug wala poy kalinaw kung walay kauswagan,” Gov. Corvera said.

Among the FRs from the 23rd IB who received the livelihood assistance was Alias Amats who expressed gratitude to the government for the support and opportunities he received.

“Dako among pasalamat sa gobyerno labi na sa DSWD ug sa kasundaluhan kay naningkamot sila aron matabangan kami sa pag bag-o sa among kinabuhi. Sugod sa pagbiya nako sa kalihukan, daghan na kaayo ang mga ayuda, tabang ug oportunidad nga gihatag sa amo sa gobyerno. Diri ra gayod nako nakita ang tinuod nga kabag-uhan ug nakita namo kung giunsa gyod mi sa pag suporta sa gobyerno aron nga mabag-o ug mulambo ang among kinabuhi. Karon namo nakita ang kaayo sa gobyerno kay sa una nga naa pami sa kalihukan, kanunay man gisulsol sa among mga lideres nga way ayo ang gobyerno. Puro na lang negatibo ang ilang gitudlo sa amo pero ang tinuod nga kaayo ug pagtabang diri lang namo nabati ug nakita sa gobyerno,” Amats said.

Lt. Col. Paulo, in his message, made an assurance that the government and the Army will continuously look forward to help the former CNT combatants to live progressively and peacefully with their families.

“Our government offers many opportunities to help you become independent individuals especially when you will soon be reintegrated into your communities. We hope that all the assistance provided by the government will be your instrument in renewing and starting positive lives,” Lt. Col. Paulo said.

He added that it was the lack of basic services, an issue usually exploited by the CNTs, forced the FRs to once join the terrorist movement in the area of Agusan del Norte. 

“The government is providing you now with different assistance and services for you to truly feel that this government is always working for the benefit of its people. We know that it is not easy on your part to live normally after a couple of years in believing the ideologies of the armed group. Now that you are on the right path with the government, you are assured of the protection and help that you and your families need,” Lt. Col. Paulo said.

He also urged the former rebels to make plans on how to manage properly the finances they received and make use of all the assistance wisely in order to have a sustainable livelihood in the near future.

“May this program help you transform your lives from miserable into a productive one,” Lt. Col. Paulo said.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Joint Task Force Diamond, PA

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