Dreams turn to reality for rebel-returnee
by Mai Gevera
Davao City (11 March) -- Laide Malinao, a rebel-returnee, now owns a house, buys five hectares of farming lot, and brings his three kids to school.
These, according to him, were all in his dreams when he was still an active member of a rebel group.
He thought these dreams will all remain in his mind as he observed that joining the movement makes him all the more suffer poverty.
"Kinahanglan nako buhi-on akong pamilya mao nga mingtiwalag ko sa grupo. Kung magpabilin ko didto, walay kapadulngan ang akong mga anak. (I have to think for my family that's why I left the group. My kids will not have direction if I remain in the movement)," Malinao said.
As soon as he heard about the government's Social Integration Program, an initiative that embraces back rebel-returnees and offers livelihood incentives, "Laide" immediately enlisted himself and availed the said program.
When he returned to the community, an immediate cash of P20,000 was given to him. This is just an initial financial support as the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process handles the requirements needed for the grant of the social interventions.
As he was formally evaluated as a qualified rebel-returnee, "Laide" received P50,000 as capital assistance in the form of sari-sari store goods.
His wife helped him manage the sari-sari store while he busied himself attending to his farm.
A better income pushed "Laide" to buy five hectares of land from his cousin where he could plant and exercise his farming skills.
He proudly shared to the program implementers and his co rebel-returnees that he's able to uplift his economic status. He is now bringing in P7,000 monthly income for his family.
"Laide" has also earned from the firearms he surrendered. The program offers an additional P50,000 for each firearm or explosives or ammunition surrendered.
When asked if he would still opt to go back to rebellion, "Laide" simply laughed and said " lahat ng ito ay hindi ko malalasap sa pagrerebelde."
The SIP was officially launched on June 18, 2008. it has already benefited some 235 rebel-returnees from all over the country in the last seven months. It is being implemented pursuant to Administrative Order No. 172 promulgated by President Arroyo on March 23, 2007.
To give rebel-returnees better direction under the SIP, they are made to undergo seminar-workshops where they are briefed and acquainted with other program opportunities for them, including livelihood packages, employment, training and education assistance.
The seminars will also enable them to have better access to other basic services and social amelioration programs of government which they may be qualified. (PIA XI) [top]