Capitol assesses program for rebel returnees

THE Negros Occidental Provincial Government, along with various stakeholders, is assessing the development of its program for the rebel returnees.

At least 50 former rebels attended the program review and assessment of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (Clip) held at the Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City, Friday.

Clip, initially spearheaded by the Department of Interior and Local Government, is being implemented by the Provincial Government and the Philippine Army to provide psycho-social and socio-economic security to former rebels to help them become productive members of the society.

Major General Jon Aying, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said one of the objectives of the program is to draw the rebels to return to the folds of the law.

“So our brothers in the armed struggle can see there’s development if there’s cooperation with the government and non-government organizations,” Aying added.

He said the program, which started in 2014, has about 80 beneficiaries.

“It’s about time to review and assess if the program needs to
continue or if there’s a need to improve it,” he added.

During the assessment Friday, the returnees were asked about their opinions and perspective about the program.

Aying said he is hoping to get “valid, credible and reliable opinion” from the returnees.

He said the Provincial Planning and Development Office and the Provincial Peace Integration and Development Unit (Pro-Pidu) will also give its inputs on the program. The Pro-Pidu will come up with the final assessment.

Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Ma. Lina Sanogal, action officer of Pro-Pidu, said the presence of the participants is a positive indicator.

Sanogal gave an orientation on the programs and projects of the Provincial Government designed to benefit the former rebels, help the community, and protect the environment.

For his part, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. expressed his appreciation to the former rebels for their participation.

“The Provincial Government is always here for you, ready to help you,” the governor said.

He also urged them to send their children to school since the educated have more opportunities.

After the activity, the participants received food packs, canned goods, water containers, and other household items.
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