SIXTY-FOUR former rebels have received livelihood starter kits from the government, officials said.
Major Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, said the livelihood starter kits were distributed Tuesday, July 16, to the former rebels by the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade and Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
Encinas did not mention what specific rebel group the beneficiaries belong except to say they are former members of the “local terrorist group.”
The rebel-beneficiaries have received farming livelihood grants, six cellular phone accessories business starter kits, 35 rice trading, one package of vulcanizing equipment, and 36 sari-sari store business starter kits.
“We are fulfilling our commitment to the FRs (former rebels) for them to fully reintegrate to the mainstream society,” said Criste Perpekto, Supervising Labor and Employment Officer of Dole-Northern Mindanao.
Alinor Montic, one of the rebel-beneficiary, said they are happy since they were given livelihood to start with to live a new life.
Brigadier General Romeo Brawner, Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade commander, expressed hopes that the livelihood of the beneficiaries will prosper.
“It is nice to live a normal life and be a partner of peace and development in the community that you live,” Brawner added.
The distribution of the Livelihood Starter Kits is part of the government's peace-building effort to prevent and counter violent extremism.
Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom chief, said he is grateful of the overwhelming support of other government agencies in their quest for peace in Western and Central Mindanao.
“We call on the rest of our brothers and sisters who are still contemplating to come out and take advantage of the livelihood programs implemented by the government,” Sobejana added. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)