Friday, September 25, 2020

Army, Agusan Norte LGU Inaugurates Halfway House for Former Rebels

BUTUAN CITY - The Provincial Government of Agusan del Norte and Congressional Office of 2nd District of Agusan del Norte in partnership with the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade conducted the launching and Blessing of the Agusan del Norte Manpower Development Center Halfway House for Former Rebels on the morning of September 23, 2020, held at Headquarters 402nd Infantry Brigade at Brgy. Bancasi, Butuan City.

The construction of the Manpower Development Center Halfway House for Former Rebels is a 10M project sourced from the Provincial Development Fund of Agusan del Norte by then-Governor Maria Angelia Rosedell Amante-Matba and the E-CLIP Fund, was facilitated by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) led by Ms. Silver Joy Tejano and DILG Agusan del Norte led by Engr Ellen V Chua, Provincial Director.

The Halfway House is situated inside the Headquarters of the 402nd Brigade with a fifty (50) bed capacity complete with basic furniture and amenities. The construction started last February 27, 2019, and was completed on January 30, 2020.

With the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the facility was utilized temporarily as COVID-19 Quarantine Facility for the suspected and confirmed cases in Agusan del Norte.

The inauguration and blessing were attended by different member agencies of the E-CLIP Committee spearheaded by Hon Dale B Corvera, Provincial Governor of ADN and Hon Maria Angelia Rosedell Amante-Matba, 2nd District Representative of ADN and BGen Maurito L Licudine, 402nd Brigade Commander, with Hon Elizabeth Marie R Calo, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member of Agusan del Norte and other member agencies namely NHA Caraga, CHR Caraga, ADN PPO, TESDA ADN, Commanding Officers and representatives of the three (3) Infantry Battalions in Agusan del Norte (23IB, 29IB, and 65IB).

In his opening message, Brigadier General Maurito L Licudine, 402nd Brigade Commander, welcomed the participants and expressed his elation with the quick response of the provincial government of Agusan del Norte for the Halfway House to be operationalized to cater to the processing, deradicalization, mainstreaming, and integration of the FRs.

“Today’s inauguration and blessing is a clear testament of the commitment and support of our local leaders in helping our FRs get back on their feet and be able to live normal lives after their harrowing experience with the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG)," he said.

BGen Licudine added that they are anticipating a snowball of surrenders because the halfway house will encourage more communist NPA terrorist combatants to surrender exemplifying the effective implementation of the E-CLIP.

“The Halfway house will be a symbol of deliverance for our waylaid brothers and sisters as it provides them a glimmer of hope and an alternative for giving up their violent way of life because at the end of the day they are still Filipinos who are entitled to a second chance in life," the Commander said.

In his message, Governor Corvera thanked the AFP for giving space and allowing the Halfway House to be erected inside the 402nd Brigade.

He said that the provincial government has now fulfilled its task in providing the FRs the support and chance they are worthy of.

“The government has really learned how to address the insurgency problem, that is thru the whole of nation approach. On the part of the province, we have already arranged the personnel that will manage the halfway house so that it will really become operational with the fixtures and furniture already emplaced," he added.

Meanwhile, Representative Amante-Matba said, “Our work does not end here. We are grateful for the sacrifices of the AFP and the PNP. You have done your part. The AFP now seamlessly evolved to the extent that you already know and master the job of the LGU.”

She also explained that the gains are temporary if the complaints on the grounds are not answered. She said that the government must know the issues that have been utilized by the CTG.

“We don’t fight them with guns, we fight them by making sure that the government is able to respond to the complaints on the ground. There is a disconnect in terms of prioritization and the needs on the ground. Hence, we have a bigger responsibility, we must not take our job an 8am-5pm job but we must take our job as a contributing factor to make our province a much better place,” Cong. Amante-Matba added.

In relation to the campaign set by higher Headquarters in ending communist armed conflict in the Brigade’s area of responsibility against the remaining members of Guerrilla Front 4A in the Caraga region, BGen Licudine said that they are confident that the remnants which consolidate to just a platoon will be decimated before year-end either through violent deaths or peaceful surrenders.

“The challenge is the sustainment of the programs lined-up under E-CLIP and ensuring that the FRs become responsible and productive members of the society. We must all be committed and converge our actions until the job is done,” BGen Licudine ended.

Source: Civil-Military Operations Office, 402nd Infantry Brigade, Joint Task Force Diamond, PA

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