MANILA – A Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) official on Thursday said the agency is all set to provide social protection packages to former rebels (FRs) and former violent extremists (FVEs) who are undergoing reintegration to mainstream society.
Alan Tanjusay, DSWD undersecretary for Inclusive-Sustainable Peace and Special Concerns (ISPSC), assured the FRs and FVEs more opportunities to sustain their reintegration await them along and after the process.
During an interview with "Balik-Loob sa Pagbabago" on DWDD (1134kHz) AFP Radio, Tanjusay called on FRs and FVEs to think “beyond” the immediate assistance they have received under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) to fully sustain their transformation.
“Kung sila ay business-minded, sila ay mayroong entrepreneurial drive sa sarili nila para pagandahin ang mga produkto na binebenta o ginagawa nila, mas matagal ang epekto ng Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) (If they are business-minded, if they have the entrepreneurial drive to make their products more attractive, these will have longer effects on their SLP),” Tanjusay said.
Once they qualify to the existing program guidelines, the DSWD would be offering them comprehensive support, such as debriefing, psychosocial assistance, transportation, food provisions, and social welfare programs such as the SLP, the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program, and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
Highlighting the impact of the SLP as one of the interventions under E-CLIP, Tanjusay cited the successful transformation of the KAPATIRAN community in Aklan, which was once a breakaway group of the New People's Army (NPA) but later engaged in negotiations and a peace agreement with the government.
The group, he said, transformed its members into successful business owners, who are now running a range of enterprises from a kambingan restaurant to a vendor-gasoline station and coconut oil processing factory.
Recently, the DSWD extended assistance to around 700 former Abu Sayyaf Group members, with some of them graduating and becoming qualified beneficiaries of SLP in Jolo, Sulu.
Tanjusay also underscored the importance of the participation of FRs and FVEs in the reintegration process.
“Hindi mo matutulungan ang mga kababayan nating mahihirap kung wala silang self-realization na magpursigi, magtiyaga. Ang tunay na pagbabago ay i-empower mo ang isang indibidwal at i-develop mo ang kanyang potensyal (You cannot help our countrymen who are in need if they lack self-realization to strive and persevere. True change comes when you empower an individual and develop their potential),” he said.
E-CLIP is the holistic package of benefits that FRs and FVEs can avail of, such as livelihood, medical, education, housing, and legal assistance to help them reintegrate and live normal lives in the mainstream society.
The program is part of the government’s efforts to end communist insurgency in the country through the attainment of just and lasting peace using the whole-of-nation approach as envisioned by Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018. (PNA)