Leyte-Tandaya Integrated Peace and Development Workers Federation is born

CAMP LUKBAN, CATBALOGAN CITY, SAMAR - One Hundred Twenty-three (123) former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from different towns and cities of Leyte province who are beneficiaries of the livelihood program have expressed their deep gratitude to the government for allowing them to start a new life.

This happened during the 1st Leyte Provincial Assembly of Former Rebels Associations and Organizational meeting of the Leyte-Tandaya Integrated Peace and Development Workers Federation held at Matag-ob, Leyte on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

According to Ka Mayang, a rebel returnee and president of the federation, the rebel returnees have started growing their poultry, animal production, and farming business through the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). 

She added 11 barangay associations from the two towns of Leyte, San Isidro, and Calubian composed of 641 members, are now earning money from their livestock.

Former rebels joined the first Leyte Provincial Assembly of Former Rebel Associations and Organizational meeting of Leyte-Tandaya Integrated Peace and Development Workers Federation held at Matag-ob, Leyte.

Others are earning through the livelihood given by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) while some are now undergoing training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“Totoo ang sinabi nila (gobyerno) na tutulungan nila kami (rebel returnees) dahil naramdaman namin, dahil nandiyan na, kumikita na ang mga association lalo na sa area ng San Isidro at Calubian nagka-savings na sila at may pang-araw-araw na silang panggastos sa pamilya nila,” Ka Mayang said.

Another recipient named Ka JJ admitted he experienced a big turn from his life before while he was still in the mountains with the rebel group. He said he’s no longer living in fear as law enforcement agencies assured him of his safety.

Neither does he feel lonely nor worried for his family since he can now provide food on the table and can send his children to school as their poultry business is growing and earning well.

“Komportable ang pamumuhay ko ngayon, walang kaba na namumuhay samantala noon parang lagi kang hinahabol, palagi kang nagmamatyag sa kadahilanan na meron kang kalaban. Ngayon wala ka nang pangamba at tuloy-tuloy yong pag-focus sa hanapbuhay,” said Ka JJ.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominic Petilla assured the rebel returnees of the local government’s full support to the E-CLIP and promised that they will continue to assist the returning rebels in the province.

The PLGU allocated funds so the rebel returnees can have additional cash assistance and livelihood. Also, it decided to organize them into a federation so their problems or issues can be easily addressed.

“Ang gobyerno , para sa tao. it is owned by the people so if it is owned by the people, it should work for the benefit of the people. So yan naman ang nangyari dito sa Leyte.

Kung ano ang hinaing nila ginawa natin, sinagot natin. It gave them hope na may kinabukasan pala sa mga buhay nila because ang number one complaint nila talaga is yong kahirapan, poverty and poverty is the biggest root of insurgency,” Petilla said.

Petilla added the E-CLIP and the LGU allocated funds for the rebel returnees housing project. Around 262 houses are now being constructed in the Peace and Prosperity Village.

The Joint Task Force Storm Commander, Major General Pio Q. Diñoso III said with the unity and cooperation of law enforcement, government agencies, rebel returnees, and the community, the decades-long problem of insurgency in Eastern Visayas will soon be addressed.

Diñoso also reiterated that the increasing number of NPA rebels who surrendered is the fruit of the aggressive campaign of the government against insurgency and its sincerity to help the returning rebels to have a better life.

“Ang ibig sabihin niyan naniniwala na sila sa ating gobyerno na sinsero talaga ang gobyerno na tulungan sila at sinsero ang ating gobyerno na bigyang tugon yong mga problema, issues, karamihan ay nasa mga lugar na malalayo yong sinasabi nga nilang geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” Diñoso said.

While more rebels are returning to the folds of the law, the Joint Task Force Storm will continue its fight against the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs).

Out of the 11 terrorist guerrilla fronts in Eastern Visayas, four have already been dismantled while three more will be dismantled by the second quarter.

The remaining four fronts are expected to be dismantled before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends.

“Depende yan sa kung anong magiging pananaw nong mga nandodoon pa sa apat na remaining fronts, kung makikita nila na talagang hopeless na yong pinaglalaban nila. Nakita naman nila na mayroong mas magandang alternatibo yong ini-offer nga ng gobyerno baka mas mapabilis. Pero kung magmamatigas sila baka tumagal pa, magiging mas marahas na ending, na ayaw sana nating mangyari,” Diñoso added. 

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

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