EX-REBELS GET AID. The Department of Social Welfare and Development's Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) conducts a payout for the livelihood settlement grant to former rebels at the Provincial Capitol of Davao De Oro this week. Some 75 beneficiaries will receive PHP20,000 each for their respective livelihood projects. (DSWD-11 photo)

MANILA – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it has been strengthening its sustainable livelihood program (SLP) as it slowly shifts its focus towards providing livelihood grants after implementing the social amelioration program (SAP) for families most affected by the health crisis.

On Thursday, the DSWD 11 (Davao region) said 75 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Davao de Oro, formerly called Compostela Valley province, received the livelihood settlement grant (LSG).

Under the program, each of them received PHP20,000 for his livelihood project.

“Moreover, the DSWD’s Community-Based Social Services (CBSS) provided an additional of PHP4,000 for their food and transportation assistance,” DSWD-11 said.

The DSWD is one of the lead agencies implementing President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70, which institutionalized the creation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

On October 10, it provided LSGs to 26 former rebels from various towns in the Mountain Province.

In a statement, the DSWD said the grant totaled PHP520,000.

Each of them also received PHP20,000.

The SLP aims to improve the economic well-being of vulnerable, marginalized, and disadvantaged individuals and families in communities by mobilizing and empowering them through the support of the local government units and other government agencies.

According to the DSWD, the SLP is related to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) by the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).

The E-CLIP is a holistic package of benefits that former rebels and former violent extremists could avail of, such as livelihood and medical assistance, education, housing, and legal assistance, to help them reintegrate into normal society.

“The program is part of the government’s efforts to end communist insurgency through the attainment of just and lasting peace utilizing the whole-of-nation approach as envisioned by EO 70,” the DSWD added.

It said the former rebels would be assessed to ensure that the “most appropriate” programs and services would be extended to them.

The programs and services that may be extended to the former rebels are enrollment in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), provision of livelihood assistance under the SLP, and the cash-for-work program, among others.

The provision of livelihood grants for former rebels has been among the priority programs of the DSWD since Secretary Rolando Bautista, a retired lieutenant general, took over the department.

However, it was pushed aside for a while so the DSWD could focus on the SAP.

As of October 14, the second tranche of the SAP was distributed to some 13.98 million family beneficiaries.

The distributed amount reached PHP83.5 billion.

DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said once the SAP is completed, they could go back to focusing on the implementation of the SLP. (PNA)