TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- The Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) has conducted the last phase of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process for the last batch of Cordillera People’s Liberation Army in the region.

According to OPAPP DDR Program Coordinator, Dir. Pamela Padilla, the activity was focused on the issuance of checks to the last 176 individuals in the region who have undergone the final disposition of arms as provided by the Government and CPLA Closure Agreement signed last June 2011.

Of the total number, 34 were from Apayao with 24 availing the livelihood program, four were employed as forest guards through the DENR while one opted to be integrated with the Philippine Army.

In Abra, six availed of the livelihood and one is now integrated with the AFP. Two from Benguet opted to be employed as forest guards.

For Mountain Province, 47 availed of the livelihood program, seven were hired as forest guards and one joined the AFP.

Eight members also availed of the livelihood in Ifugao while four were employed as forest guards. In Kalinga, 55 availed of the livelihood program, eight chose to be hired as forest guards and three are now in the Army.

“Those who have availed of the program were the CPLA members identified to have agreed and committed to the MOA which is geared towards the final disposition of arms and forces and the group’s transformation as an unarmed, socio-economic entity to positively contribute to the peace and development of their communities,” she said.

She emphasized that only those who were identified through the agreement and profiled could avail of said program where they could receive financial assistance and remunerations for their surrendered firearms based on the kind of caliber and serviceability.

The livelihood program, she said, is a community-driven enterprise development where the OPAPP partners with the DSWD in the implementation. There are now 11 organized 11 people’s organizations and undergoing training and planning for their selected projects.

Padilla said a former CPLA could also opt for the AFP Integration program where they would undergo the regular training and get the same benefits as a regular government troop. (Geraldine Dumallig/Sun.Star Baguio)