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PIA Press Release

PGMA's social integration program gains ground in Zamboanga Sur

Pagadian City (18 June) -- For the 26 former NPA rebels who have returned to the folds of the law and availed of the government's Social Integration Program (SIP), life has become brighter and more challenging.

Ms. Conchita San Diego, Provincial Social Welfare & Development Officer said after undergoing Livelihood Capability Building/Training on Agriculture and Livestock Production, an immediate assistance of P20,000 was given to each rebel returnee, in line with PGMA's thrust to allow former rebels to start life anew.

Another training on Personality Enhancement/Livelihood Skills Development and Integrated Farming System was recently concluded with funding support form the provincial government through Gov. Aurora E. Cerilles and OPAPP.

Under the SIP, aside from the P20,000 immediate cash assistance, a rebel returnee will also receive P50,000 as capital assistance in the form of livestock, farm implements, and/or sari-sari store goods, among others to help them rebuild their lives as they return to their families.

In an interview with Lt. Col. Erwin Alea, Commanding Officer of the 53rd Infantry Battalion based in Guipos, he said PGMA has issued marching orders to fully eradicate insurgency before her term ends in 2010. "With the timetable given by the President, all agencies of the government, the military and police, including NGOs and the private sector are working hand in hand to meet the deadline, and I am positive that we can do it!" Alea explained.

Col. Alea sounded the call for rebels to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law and commented that it was the government's sincere efforts - providing them a better option in life, which made the rebel returnees surrender. They are also tired of fighting and being away from their families for a long period of time.

He said many of them are now in the process of surrendering and working their way to avail of this chance for a better and peaceful life.

Social Integration Program

Spearheaded by the National Committee on Social Integration under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Dionisio Jubilan, OPAPP Action Officer said the Social Integration Program is a process wherein former rebels and their dependents are provided a set of interventions to facilitate their integration into mainstream social life. SIP is implemented through Administrative Order No. 172 which was created by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on March 23, 2007.

Among the partners of the OPAPP in the implementation of SIP are: the Department of Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Food Authority, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Higher Education, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Interior and Local Government and local government units.

"With these developments, we can say that we are winning the war against insurgency," Alea concluded. (PIA9-Pagadian City) [top]

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