BACOLOD CITY – At least 20 former Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Escalante City, Negros Occidental province will engage in swine raising after receiving piglets as livelihood aid from the city government.
The turnover rites held at the Event Center in Barangay Hacienda Fe on Thursday is the latest of the projects extended to the former rebels in line with the initiatives of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“The Philippine Army extends its gratitude to Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. for his continuous support and aggressive stance to end local armed conflict,” said Lt. Col. J-jay Javines, commander of the 79th Infantry Battalion, in a statement on Friday.
Javines, who witnessed the turn-over of assistance along with Councilor Leo Alejandro Yap and Sharon Cadigal, local government operations officer of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, acknowledged the mayor’s benevolence in looking after the welfare of the former rebels.
Those who returned to the fold of the law in the northern Negros city have received sustainable livelihood projects, economic packages, and capacity-building and skills training as they take the path to peace and live normal lives, he added.
In October last year, the city government also provided farm animals to the former rebels through their cooperative, and lined-up more assistance such as the distribution of carabaos and provision of rolling stores, sari-sari stores, a motorized boat with fishnets, market stalls, and job opportunities in public and private offices.
In Negros Occidental, Escalante City has the most number of insurgency-cleared villages, with a total of 14 barangays, which are beneficiaries of the Local Government Support Fund-Support to Barangay Development Program under the NTF-ELCAC. (PNA)