Back into the fold

Rebel returnees now organized as people’s organizations

FORMER members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have formed themselves into livelihood associations that are now officially registered at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Through the initiative of the 71st Infantry (Kaibigan) Battalion, three livelihood groups in Barangays Gubatan, Calabcab, and Sangab in Maco, Compostela Valley were organized, said 1st Lt. Jhocell Asis, the battalion civil-military operations officer

Organized as Community Development Volunteers (CDVs), the new associations are Barangay Gubatan Livelihood for Peace Association (BGLPA), Calabcab Motor Drivers Association (CAMODA), and Sangab Energetic Farmers Association (SEFA).

Asis said most of the 200 members of the associations are former supporters of NPA’s Underground Movement (UGMO).

The Community Support Program (CSP) is part of the Development Support and Security Plan (DSSP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP).

The program aims for the support of the community and partner stakeholders in bringing the government closer to the people and to eliminate the influence of the NPA in communities, paving the way for development projects and investors.

On March 15 and 16, programs were conducted to recognize the existence of the newly organized associations where town Administrator Adrian Rimando, representing Mayor Veronica Alvera Rimando, led the oath-taking ceremony of the officers and members of BGLPA, CAMODA, and SEFA.

During each ceremony, Lt. Col. Esteveyn Ducusin, the 71st IB commander turned over sacks of hybrid peanut seedlings to the associations as starter kit for the members who signified farming as livelihood project.

Asis said the highlight of the oath-taking program was the livelihood consultation conducted by the Medium Scale Industries Coordinated Action Program Foundation Incorporated (MASICAP), a non-government organization tapped by the DOLE to assist the battalion and CDVs in preparing the project proposal.

During the consultation, Asis said the associations signified agricultural and veterinarian trading, selling of motor spare parts, car wash, and vulcanizing as their proposed livelihood projects.

“These will be awarded upon the completion and approval of livelihood proposals to be facilitated by the battalion and MASICAP Foundation,” Asis added.

 

Honored

“My troops and I are much honored to become the instrument in mainstreaming these people to become a productive member of the community,” said the battalion commander Ducusin.

“Most of them are former members of NPA’s Underground Movement because these three barangays where our CSP team is located are formerly known as NPA’s stronghold areas,” Ducusin added.

The battalion commander also extended his gratitude to the DOLE Compostela Valley for the positive response in the coordination made by the battalion for the livelihood projects of the associations.

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