The Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) and Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) awarded Livelihood Settlement Grant to former rebels in a simple ceremony here last Monday (October 5).
The awarding was led by Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Vice Gov. Francis Tauli and DSWD Undersecretary for Inclusive and Sustainable Peace Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje.
The 26 former rebels who have surrendered to authorities in the province received P20, 000 each as part of the assistance of government intended for former rebel- beneficiaries under the Executive Order 70 or the Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The FRs are from the municipalities of Natonin with nine, Sadanga with six, Bontoc with four, Sagada and Tadian with two each and one each for Bauko, Besao, and Paracelis.
In his message, Usec. Paje underscored the joint efforts of all national line agencies with the local government units in advocating peace and in convincing rebels to return into the mainstream of society.
Paje expressed regret that many are still being deceived by the CPP-NPA. He cited the youth and some idealists who have for long been enticed by the rebel group. Time will come that recruits will do introspection and will suddenly realize that they have been deceived and brainwashed by the teachings of the communists-terrorist group, he said,
“Our activity today is a proof na hindi kayo habang-buhay ay pwedeng linlangin. Magigising din kayo sa katotohanan. Itong pagtitipon na ito ay katunayan o katibayan na ang mga tao ay may sariling pag-iisip at may hangarin na umunlad at mamuhay ng mapayapa,” Paje said.
“Sa giyera walang panalo. There are no victors in war, especially so that we are fighting Filipinos against Filipinos, brothers against brothers. Tayo’t tayo lang naman ang naglalaban kaya hindi umuunlad ang Pilipinas. Ngayong may COVID-19 ay mas mahirap pa. Kumbaga tayo ay nakasakay sa iisang bangka kaya dapat ay iisang direksyon ang sagwan natin tungo sa progress, development and peace,” Paje added.
Lacwasan, for his part, stressed to the FRs that the cash assistance awarded to them is not a prize money for their surrender but rather, it symbolizes the sincerity of the government thru the ELCAC Tasks Force to support those who are willing to go back to mainstream society.
“Thru the ELCAC, all agencies are helping one another to prove that your suspicion that the government does not care is not true. We are here to show to the people most especially those who took up arms that the government cares for everyone. We are here to show that at any cost, we are to bring your former comrades back into the fold of the law,” Lacwasan added.
The Governor stressed that his administration will continue to cooperate and work with the national line agencies and the different law enforcement agencies for more livelihood grants for those who surrendered back to the folds of the law.
Also present during the ceremony were 503rd Infantry Brigade Commander BGen Henry Doyaoen, DSWD CAR OIC Regional Director Leo Quintilla, Mountain Province Provincial Police Office Director PCol. Homer Penecilla, Land Bank Bontoc Manager Genaro Dumpayan, DILG LGOO Gyda Namingit, 54th Infantry Battalion Commander LTC Franz Josef Diamante, Rev. Fr. Marcial Lloyd Castaneda, TESDA Senior TESD Specialist Madelieine Lomeng, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Miguela Angwani and other representatives. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)
By Redjie Melvic Cawis