THE Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) along with various partner organizations and government agencies have launched the Sustainable and Resilient Livelihood Program for Kapatiran formerly known as RPMP-RPA-ABB-TPG in Barangay Locota, Kabankalan City earlier this week.

At least 210 participants including Kapatiran members and their families attended the activity that complied with the guidelines and protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force.

Acting Provincial Director Beverly Insular, in her message, said the program is part of the effort of the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) to free the people from poverty through collective efforts under Executive Order 70.

Insular said one of the root causes of insurgency is poverty, thus, the priority of the PRLEC is poverty reduction.

"But we cannot achieve the main goal of the cluster without solidarity and cooperation among the different sectors," she said, adding that "as the head of the PRLEC, we urge our partners to give their 100 percent commitment to this program."

The Tesda official also urged partners "not to get tired of helping our brothers and sisters resided in conflict-affected areas."

Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (Opapp) April Casalem, for her part, lauded the Tesda for its continuous support in the peace process even during this coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Casalem assured Opapp's support to the program, expressing hopes that Kapatiran will become more independent and empowered people's organization that is income generating and socially competent.

"We believe that through amity, unity and cooperation, we will achieve a just and lasting peace," she added.

The program aims to provide community-based training on organic sugarcane production.

Under which, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to learn how to produce home-based muscovado sugar, organic vegetable production, organic chicken raising and installation of solar irrigation systems.

They will also avail of free training, free assessment, internet allowance, one-year accident insurance, health and personal protective equipment allowance, training support fund or allowance of P160 per day and entrepreneurship training to be conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Tesda will also provide a one-unit sugarcane juicer machine to the Kapatiran community for the production of home-based muscovado sugar.

Kabankalan City Vice Mayor Raul Rivera thanked the agency and its partners for making the program possible for the Kapatiran.

Rivera expressed optimism that the beneficiaries will use the available services to improve their lives.

Kapatiran-Kabankalan Chapter chair Rudy Traso, in his message, said they also aspire for a peaceful and productive community.

"After 50 years of armed struggle, we have now learned that the problem of our country cannot be resolved by resorting to war or aggression, instead it can be addressed through peaceful means," he said.

Traso added, "the time for change has come and on behalf of the Kapatiran, we thank you to all the national and local government offices for giving us the opportunity to contribute to national development and to permanently go back to the folds of the law."

Aside from the Opapp and DTI, other partner-organizations and agencies included Kabankalan City Government, Barangay Locotan Council, Central Philippine State University, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police.