LIVELIHOOD AID. A former New People’s Army (NPA) member (2nd right) receives the PHP20,000 cash aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development - Davao Region Director Vanessa Goc-ong (2nd left) on Wednesday (Oct. 12, 2022) in Malita, Davao Occidental as livelihood assistance to start a new life with his family. A total of 33 former rebels received the same assistance under the DSWD's Sustainable Livelihood Program. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-11)

DAVAO CITY – At least 33 former rebels (FRs) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army in Malita, Davao Occidental received livelihood assistance to help them start new lives with their families, a social welfare official said Thursday.

“We aim to build economic opportunities for former rebels through livelihood assistance and other social services,” Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao Region (DSWD-11) Director Vanessa Goc-ong said in a statement.

Goc-ong led the turnover of the PHP20,000 cash aid to each ex-rebel Wednesday with a total of PHP660,000 worth of funds disbursed during the activity.

Through the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), she said they have provided livelihood settlement grants to the FRs for their chosen income-generating projects.

The effort was in partnership with DSWD-11, the Davao Occidental provincial government, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police, and the 73rd Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Goc-ong said DSWD is one of the lead agencies in the implementation of Executive Order 70 or the whole-of-nation approach in ending the local communist armed struggle in several parts of the country.

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