Monday, November 2, 2020

Army’s 23rd IB lauds DOLE, TESDA support to FRs

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte
– The 23rd Infantry “Masigasig” Battalion of the Philippine Army acknowledged the all-out support given by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) through the conduct of various skills enhancement and livelihood programs for the former combatants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) who are presently staying at the halfway house inside the unit’s headquarters at Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista town.

A total of forty-one (41) former rebels (FRs) recently completed the 10-day Emergency Employment Program (EEP), also known as the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced (TUPAD) program of DOLE. Each of the forty-one (41) FRs received compensation of PHP320.00 per day for the 10-day work they rendered under the program.

Another twenty-three (23) FRs under the unit also completed their 25-day Electrical Installation Maintenance program conducted by TESDA. The training has imparted the FRs with entry-level knowledge and manipulative skills for employment in the electrical industry. 

During the 25-day training, the FRs were also schooled with laboratory activities as an effective means of developing skills that are essential to the electrical trade. 

For the whole duration of the training, each of the twenty-three (23) FRs also received PHP160.00 daily allowance with free meals and snacks. The training was conducted at the headquarters of the 23rd IB.

Alias Dods is among the FRs who benefited from the TUPAD program of DOLE and was delighted upon receiving the compensation earned after ten (10) days of work. He is thankful to the government for the support he received, emphasizing its importance to sustain the needs of his family especially during the time of the pandemic.

“Wala gayod ko nasayop sa akong desisyon sa pagbalik sa sabakan sa gobyerno. Sukad sa akong pagkanaog, wala ko gipasagdan sa gobyerno ilabi na sa mga sundalo sa 23rd IB. Ang pagdawat ug pagsagop kanamong mga kanhing rebelde dinhi sa ilang kampo timailhan s aka sensero sa atong gobyerno nga humanon na kining panagbangi aron makab-ot nato ang kalinaw. Ang mga suporta para kanamo, sama sa TUPAD program sa DOLE nagpadayag usab sa tinuod nga tinguha sa gobyerno nga matabangan kaming mabag-o ang among kinabuhi usab sa among pamilya,” Dods said.

Another FR, Alias Celoy, also gave his testimony after completing the 25-day electrical training under the TESDA. He said that the knowledge and skills he acquired is a treasure that he will keep and apply upon his return to his family and community.

“Dili basta-basta kining akong natun-an sa electrical training. Ako ug ang akong mga kaubanan nabansay gayud sa TESDA aron mamahimong hanas sa gimbuhatong electrical. Ang among nakat-unan dili na mawala kanamo og amo kining gamiton aron mapalambo ang among panginabuhi. Apan kining tanang kaayohan wala unta namo nadawat kung nagpadayon kami pagpailalum sa kalihukang komunista. Mapasalamaton ako kay gipaminawan nako ang panawagan sa gobyerno og mi surrender ako aron mabag-o ang akong kinabuhi,” Celoy said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the acting commanding officer of 23rd IB expressed his gratitude to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the continuous support that the agencies have given to the FRs. Aside from aiding their families of the basic needs in this time of health crisis, the agencies also prepared the FRs to become productive members of their communities.

“Our convergence has proven the enduring resolve of the government to end the local communist armed conflicts here in Agusan del Norte. Our unified efforts bring hope to our FRs who were once lost especially when they were subjugated by the destructive and injurious ideology of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs),” Paulo said.

He also recognized the support of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (PSWDO) and the provincial government of Agusan del Norte for the support given to the different activities of the FRs.

“One of these days, those individuals who are still confined inside the communist movement but have already suffered for years will realize that hope for a brighter tomorrow is still waiting for them. I know that all these support and services being enjoyed by our FRs will reach their attention. My only prayer is for them to ponder deeply and come out with the right decision for their lives. The government, the Army, and the rest of the agencies are always ready to welcome you back,” Paulo said.

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

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