PEACE COMMUNITY. Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (6th from left), poses with a Kapatiran member family during the ceremonial turnover of housing units in Ibajay, Aklan on Thursday (March 10, 2022). The housing units are part of the government’s commitment to help former communist terrorist group members rebuild their lives. (Photo courtesy of OPAPRU)

MANILA – Former affiliate members of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) will start their new lives with a housing project provided by the national government.

Sixteen single-detached core shelters were given to the beneficiaries of Rebolusyonaryong Partido Manggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade-Tabara Paduano Group (RPM-P/RPA/ABB-TPG), now recognized as Kapatiran, in a ceremonial turnover in Ibajay, Aklan on Thursday.

On top of the housing projects, an Emergency Food Reserve and a Cocomill facility will be set up.

In a social media post on Saturday, Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the housing project is a result of “sincere” efforts of the government and the Kapatiran to push for a long-lasting peace process through the 2000 peace agreement.

In 2019, both parties signed a Clarificatory Implementing Document, the final and absolute settlement of the peace deal which ended years of armed conflict between the government and the former revolutionary organization.

Nais din namin na ang mga tahanang ito ay magsilbing simbolo at inspirasyon sa mga benepisyaryo sa pagsisimula ng bagong kabanata sa inyong buhay (We want these houses to become a symbol that will inspire beneficiaries to start the new chapters of their lives),” Galvez said.

The then Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Department of National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines signed a Memorandum of Agreement in 2017, subsequently amended in 2019, for the provision of 52 core shelters to Peace and Development Communities in Ibajay, Aklan; Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, and the tri-boundary site between the towns of Amlan, Sibulan, and Tanjay City in Negros Oriental.

Galvez also cited the government’s obligations to the former members of Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) who returned to the fold of the law following the implementation of Mt. Data Peace Accord or “Sipat” agreement with the national government on Sept. 13, 1986.

This deal was strengthened through the signing of the 2011 Memorandum of Agreement for the disposition of firearms and forces of the CPLA and the provision of socio-economic services for groups and communities in the Cordillera.

Ibajay Mayor Jose Enrique Miraflores noted that Kapatiran's strong commitment to push for a long-lasting and genuine peace process enabled Aklan to fully develop its tourism industry.

“It was through the efforts of the Kapatiran wherein the highway became a passable highway for tourists,” Miraflores said in a statement. “I always say this, without the Kapatiran's commitment, we would not have reached the tourism development of the province of Aklan, and we would not have made Boracay as a prime tourist destination of the country of the world.” (PNA)