45 ex-rebels in Leyte get livelihood kits

45 ex-rebels in Leyte get livelihood kits

LIVELIHOOD KITS. Some recipients of livelihood kits during the turnover at the San Isidro, Leyte town hall on Oct. 7, 2020. At least 45 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Leyte province have been identified as beneficiaries of livelihood assistance by the Department of Trade Industry. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

TACLOBAN CITY – At least 45 former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Leyte province have been identified as recipients of livelihood assistance by the Department of Trade Industry (DTI).

The 45 rebels from the towns of San Isidro, Calubian, and Tabango, Leyte are entitled to receive PHP5,000 worth of items for them to start their community store business.

“The livelihood assistance is part of the government’s effort to institutionalize the whole of nation approach and to end the local communist armed conflict,” said DTI Leyte provincial director Araceli Laraga in a phone interview on Friday.

The first batch received their kit at the San Isidro town hall on Wednesday. The trade department has scheduled the turnover in Calubian and Tabango towns within the month.

Each kit includes noodles, canned sardines, corned beef, coffee, detergent, and other basic items.

The initiative is to support small enterprises to resume their business after armed conflicts. Some remote villages in the three towns have been identified as former NPA strongholds.

Before the awarding of kits, the DTI has conducted enterprise development training and business counseling and mentoring to help ensure the sustainability of their business.

“With the assistance of the Philippine Army, we will monitor them regularly to help ensure the sustainability of their livelihood,” Laraga told the Philippine News Agency.

The 45 recipients identified by the provincial government, are among the more than 1,000 NPA fighters and Militia ng Bayan (MB) members in western Leyte who surrendered to the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade on April 13, 2019.

MB refers to individuals who have been indoctrinated and may or may not be directly involved in violent armed struggle, but when organized, can provide mass support to the revolutionary movement of the communist terrorist group.

The NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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