42 rebel returnees want to re-avail of livelihood program
By Andrew B. Doga-ong
BONTOC, Mt. Province, Feb. 1 (PIA) - - Forty-two former rebels in the province have renewed their partnership with the provincial government to continue availing of the rebel returnee livelihood program.
The rebel returnees (RR) together with their respective barangay chairmen signed a memorandum of agreement with the provincial government headed by governor Leonard Mayaen extending the program this 2013.
Under the rebel returnee program, a qualified RR will receive P5,000 per month allowance in exchange to community service she/he renders in her/his barangay. The RRs are required to do community or civil works from Monday to Friday except holidays.
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Rosalinda Belagan said 2012 yearend assessment on the RR program revealed that these RRs have proven their worth in the community and even provincial affairs. She added that barangays that have RRs are becoming dependent on the assistance and services of these transformed rebels.
Among the community services the RRs are to perform include cleaning of pathways and roads, irrigation maintenance, tree planting, assisting in the day care centers and health stations, helping repair school buildings and doing other tasks that are assigned to them by their barangay leaders.
In the MOA, barangay chairmen are tasked to supervise and sign the daily time records of the RRs in their respective barangays.
The RR program was started by Mayaen when he assumed as governor in 2010 to partly address the concerns of former communist rebels who returned to the folds of the law.
He explained that the RRs somewhat lost a part of their social standing and that they should be given a chance to prove their worth in the community adding that special privileges must be afforded to this group for them to start a normal life.
Meanwhile, Belagan disclosed that one RR beneficiary of the program was removed for his alleged continuous contact with his former comrades in the underground movement.
In the MOA and the EO No. 53 earlier issued by the governor, it provides that RR beneficiaries who continue their relations with the underground movement, those who refuse to send their children who are of school age to school and those who fail to live within the norms of the community will be disqualified in the provincial livelihood program. (JDP/ABD-PIA CAR, Mt. Province)