Monday, August 03, 2009

24 former rebels receive financial assistance

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Misamis Oriental with the Office of the Presidential Assistance on the Peace Process (OPAPP) through the national government’s Social Integration Program (SIP) granted a total of P480,000 financial assistance to 24 former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Gingoog City July 31, Friday.

Misamis Oriental governor Oscar S. Moreno with OPAPP program implementation and monitoring director Susana H. Macaida, vice-governor and PPOC chair Norris Babierra and Gingoog City mayor Ruthie de Lara-Guingona handed out 20,000-peso cheque each to the rebel returnees in a simple ceremony at the Sangguniang Panlungsod hall in this city.

Anak-Mindanao party-list representative Ariel Hernandez who, before winning a seat in the House of Representatives, was executive director of Balay Mindanao Foundation, Inc. (BMFI) and sat as vice-chair in the PPOC, also graced the occasion.

Governor Moreno, in an interview yesterday (Monday), assured the former CPP-NPA members that the provincial government with the national government agencies and development-oriented institutions will continually respond to the needs of the communities where they come from.

To drive home a point, the provincial governor narrated his personal experiences in transforming sitio Lantad of barangay Kibanban, Balingasag which, in the past, serve as the regional headquarters of the CPP-NPA, into an economically-thriving community today.

Already a special agrarian reform community (SARC), Lantad has been a recipient of numerous livelihood and basic infrastructure support programs from the time the provincial government constructed a road that would link it to the town proper.

Governor Moreno said they will also do the same to barangay Tama of Magsaysay which, for so many years in the past and just like Lantad, was a hotbed of insurgency. Barangay Tama was launched as a SARC two months ago.

For her part, director Macaida stressed that the giving out of financial assistance to those who decide to rejoin the mainstream society, after having been engaged in armed struggle to topple down the government, has been a national government’s program since the restoration of democratic institutions after the people power revolution in 1986.

The OPAPP, she said, continues work in the spirit of the National Reconciliation and Development Program (NRDP) that was launched by past President Corazon C. Aquino in 1987. Such, she said, was pursued by under President Fidel V. Ramos, President Joseph E. Estrada, and under incumbent President Gloria M. Arroyo.

Meanwhile, PPOC executive officer Teddy Sabuga-a disclosed that the giving out of financial assistance to former rebels took a long process since the profiling of the would-be beneficiaries have to be conducted.

Although majority of the 24 are from this city, the other beneficiaries are from the municipalities of Alubijid, Balingasag, Claveria, Lagonglong, Medina, Salay and even from neighboring province of Agusan del Norte.

Sabuga-a, who is also the provincial social welfare and development officer, said the profiling and the processing of financial assistance to rebel returnees were primarily the tasks of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), particularly DILG Misamis Oriental provincial director Ponciano D. Caberte and Gingoog City local government operations officer Rubiconceasar U. Agcopra (Uriel Quilinguing).

Cagayan de Oro Journal

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