DAVAO CITY – The South Cotabato provincial government has expressed interest in how the Davao Oriental province runs its Happy Home, a halfway house for former communist rebels.

In a statement Monday, Karen Lou Deloso, Davao Oriental’s provincial information officer, said delegates from South Cotabato visited the province's Happy Home last week to learn about management strategies in order to improve its own program for rebel returnees.

“The delegates from South Cotabato expressed their gratitude to the provincial government for giving them an idea about operating this kind of facility. South Cotabato began its facility’s operation only a year ago,” Deloso said.

During the visit, retired Brig. Gen. Leopoldo Imbang Jr., the action officer of Davao Oriental’s Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) Program, also took time to explain to the visitors how the facility has been helping former rebels start over with their new lives.

Davao Occidental Governor Corazon Malanyaon established the Happy Home in 2013, serving former communist New People’s Army (NPA) members.

“In the last 10 years since its operation, the facility has assisted more than 500 ex-rebels who have returned to the fold of the law and are now active partners in the country's peace-building,” Malanyaon said. (PNA)