Former rebels, military in N. Cotabato gain farming skills from TESDA

Credit: TESDA XII 

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Mar. 25 (PIA) -- Government efforts to foster peace in places where the communist terrorist group once had strong influence continue to gain ground. 

Just recently in Tulunan, Cotabato Province, both former members of the New Peoples Army and troops of the Philippine Army together underwent training the accrue skills in organic farming. 

Twenty-five residents of Barangay Batang, Tulunan who are former rebels and 25 personnel of the 39th Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Geoffrey Carandang completed a 39-day course on Organic Agriculture Production NC II provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). 

At the graduation ceremony on March 1,  one of the guest, Lt. Col. Jose Regonay Jr. who had experienced combats with the NPAs in the area when he was assigned there in the 90's said he "had chills" learning that both former NPAs and Army personnel are training to become organic agriculturist. 

Lt. Col. Regonay recalled that in 1990 he, along with several other military personnel were conducting a medical mission to Barangay Batanag when they were ambushed.  He said, the memory of a landmine explosion that killed his commanding officer and wounded several troops. 

“When I first heard that I will be here with you, it made the hairs on neck stood. It gave me chills. Now I’m happy that my coming here is not be an encounter. With you, we will promote and push for peace,” Regonay said in his speech at the graduation rites.

Meanwhile, TESDA North Cotabato Provincial Director Norayah Acas assured that the program of TESDA will continue not only for the former rebels but also for their families.

Besides the certificates of completion, the trainees also received the allowances including P160 daily allowance, P500 internet allowance, and P500 personal protective equipment (PPE).

Trainings like these are TESDA's and the Armed Forces of the Philippine's response to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's Executive Order No. 70 institutionalizing a whole-of-nation approach to end communist insurgency.

In several interviews, TESDA XII Regional Director Rafael Abrogar II emphasized that in line with President Duterte's EO 70, TESDA, in collaboration with the AFP, PNP, local government units and other  agencies, addresses insurgency by giving  former rebels as well as marginalized communities, indigenous peoples, and other underserved sectors opportunities to improve their living conditions. (Karl Mike Tabingo-TESDA XII) 



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

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