Kidapawan City, Cotabato Province – “Ating isipin na hindi na tayo matatawag na FR or former rebels, tayo na po ay magiging partners. Partners tungo sa kapayapaan”
These are the words of one of the 90 former rebels who received a P20,000 livelihood settlement grant from DSWD through the Sustainable Livelihood Program in Cotabato Province on October 12, 2023
This grant can be used as seed capital to start new or enhance existing micro-enterprises or purchase the necessary inputs and starter kits for identified micro-enterprises.
In his message, Loreto Jr. V. Cabaya, the Director of DSWD XII, emphasized that this provision aims to institutionalize the Whole-of-Nation approach, encouraging a unified national effort to support the country’s peace goals in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities through collective action.
Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza was also present to encourage the former rebels to cooperate with the government.
“Kung nais ninyong patuloy na suportahan kayo ng gobyerno, tulungan ninyo kami na tiyakin na ang mga nasa pamumuno ay hindi konektado sa mga rebeldeng grupo. Magtulungan tayo sa labang ito.”
Congresswoman Ma. Alana Samantha Taliño-Santos, the 3rd district representative of Cotabato, who graced the event, said, “Maraming salamat po sa pagbabalik loob, dahil dito binalik niyo rin po ang tiwala at pagmamahal niyo sa Cotabato.”
Also present at the event were other partners of DSWD who provided assistance, including the DILG, 39th Infantry Battalion, 72nd Infantry Battalion, 90th Infantry Battalion, and other government officials of Cotabato province.
These former rebels were formerly members of CPP-NPA-NDF and their families, Militia ng Bayan and their families, and individuals and families in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities.