Former NPA members reap seeds of peace

By Armando Fenequito, Jr.

September 4, 2017, 1:16 pm

DAVAO CITY -- Former rebels in Davao Oriental are literally reaping what they sow in the name of peace.

This was announced on Saturday by provincial information officer Karen Lou Deloso, who said 17 former members of the New People's Army (NPA) harvested corn and other vegetable products which they planted last May.

Among the returnees, five are minors aged 16 to 17, and two are pregnant females aged 26 and 30.

These ex-rebels were sheltered at the Happy Home, a processing center and a civilian facility for former rebels who have expressed their desire to return to the fold of the law in Mati City.

The farm right across the Happy Home is owned by the provincial government and is near the 701st Brigade military camp. The facility will soon produce more vegetables.

Chief Master Sgt. Fernando Queza, one of supervisors of the farming activity in the facility, reported the former rebels harvested eggplants, corn, ampalaya, cucumber and okra.

Queza said that aside from planting, the beneficiaries are also tending livestock, a piggery with twenty piglets, and poultry of native chickens.

The livestocks, including the vegetable seedlings, and organic fertilizers, were provided for free by the provincial government’s agricultural office.

Each of the returnees own the livestock and vegetables sold at the local market.

In 2013, then governor and now First District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon established the facility for the former rebels to install the pillars of shared peace and prosperity in the province.

Since its launch, the facility has been helping rebels in transition to civilian life. It is staffed by a composite group providing psychosocial, spiritual and other services.

Governor Nelson Dayanghirang continues to provide former rebels with livelihood and employment opportunities, scholarships for their children, health services and others for them to join in the mainstream society.

In a statement, Dayanghirang cited a big turnout of insurgents who decided to take the road to peace by pursuing political and social change without the use of arms.

The governor said he believes that the armed conflict can be resolved by building mutual trust and understanding.

He pointed out several positive strides that have been made in the name of peace, envisioning the Happy Home to be the beginning of sincere dialogue towards resolving the armed conflict without resorting to the use of arms. (Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA)