By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – A halfway house for former rebels and Militia ng Bayan (MB) members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) is set to rise in Agusan del Norte.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Agusan del Norte recently approved the amount of P5-million from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Office XIII for the construction of a halfway house (livelihood center) for the former rebels.
This was recently approved through Sanggunian Panlalawigan Resolution No. 418-2018 authored by Vice Governor Ramon AG. Bungabong during the Sanggunian’s 113th regular session.
Agusan del Norte Governor Ma. Angelica Rosedell M. Amante-Matba signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DILG for the immediate implementation of the program.
The program is under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), which is a national government peace and development framework implemented by DILG.
The DILG was tasked to oversee the said program designed to respond to and strengthen the needs of the rebel returnees and MB members.
This is also in line with Executive Order No. 3, series 2001 that calls for a comprehensive, integrated, and holistic peace process to address the internal armed conflict and ensure the safety of former rebels, as well as providing for a community-based assistance in response to their social and psychological rehabilitation needs.
The program aims to improve the socio-economic conditions through focused delivery of services; enhancing capacities of national government agencies and local governments for pursuing conflict-sensitive, peace-promoting and gender-sensitive approach to development; and empowering communities and strengthening their capacities to address issues of conflict and peace through activities that promote peace and social involvement towards community development.
The provincial officials led by Governor Matba are hoping that the livelihood center will greatly help change the lives of former rebels and help them return to the community and live a productive life.