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PIA Press Release

OPAPP bares new Social Integration Program for former rebels

Tuguegarao City (22 June) -- After distributing livelihood assistance to former rebels in Region 2, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has introduced the new concept of Social Integration Program (SIP) for the benefit of the ex-rebels.

Mr. Arbee Talastas, Action Officer for Region 2 and CAR, said aside from the financial assistance to be given to former rebels (FRs), a package of long term program was created to sustain genuine social and economic interventions and will contribute to healing in the community.

Talastas specified that the new concept of the Social Integration Program (SIP) is composed of socio-economic interventions such as provision of access to economic and social opportunities in order to facilitate their return to productive civilian life, provision of livelihood and skills trainings and psychosocial interventions, and conduct of special program for women and children.

"In the old concept, we gave P20, 000 each rebel returnee and a remuneration to firearms that they will surrender but in the new concept we integrate programs and projects that will resolve the needs of the beneficiaries," Talastas said.

However, Talastas specified that the program shall be applicable only to all rebels who have surfaced on or after March 23, 2007, which is the date of creation of the National Committee on Social Integration (NCSI) that provides policy direction to the implementation of the SIP.

He also mentioned that the program shall not cover those with pending cases in courts for acts that cannot be considered as one committed in pursuit of political beliefs and in deference to existing peace agreements and on-going peace negotiations.

"This aims to give chance to former rebels to voluntary rejoin the mainstream of society through a sustainable process whereby FRs and their dependents are provided with set of interventions," Talastas added.

Furthermore, he said the program will provide avenue for dissolving armed rebel organizations and create an environment conducive to the promotion of peace in the pursuit of community development and reconcile FRs with their respective families and communities. (Ver/PIA 2) [top]

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