Philippines

DSWD expands coverage of peace programs

To impart significant contributions in the country’s drive to attain peace, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) expanded the coverage of its peacebuilding programs towards addressing the various risks and vulnerabilities of the different insurgent groups which have plagued our country for decades.

Aside from former rebels (FRs), their families, and households in conflict-affected areas and vulnerable communities (CAVs), the DSWD now guarantees access to social welfare and development programs and services for former violent extremists (FVEs) and their families, as part of its continuous implementation of Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70) series of 2018, or an Act institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace.

Under Memorandum Circular No. 2 series of 2022 (MC 2) which operationalizes the coverage expansion, former violent extremists are those who were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, Maute Group, Dawlah Islamiyah, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Turaife Group, and other violent extremist groups as may be defined by the Task Force Balik-Loob and likewise must be duly certified by concerned Joint Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Intelligence Committee.

Likewise, the MC 2 provides a clear, responsive, and seamless process in the delivery of social protection packages to the target clients and households of EO 70 through more defined procedures, requirements and eligibility. It also aims to ensure convergence of efforts in all levels within the Department in the provision of various programs and services for all former rebels, former violent extremists, their families, and households in CVAs, in close coordination with the different stakeholders mandated under the EO 70.

With this new milestone, the DSWD further joins other government agencies in the provision of a menu of interventions to end all local armed conflict so that all beneficiaries will have an improved level of well-being from the time they surface to the time they are fully reintegrated in society. Further, this is to provide families in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities with an equitable access to social services.

Meanwhile, the Department continues to implement the EO 70 through the two-track concept to achieve smooth transition and provision of services during the entire reintegration process of the targeted clients.

The first track focuses on providing assistance to individual FRs, FVEs and their families as they chose to reintegrate to civilian life and become productive and law-abiding members of society. The assistance provided include, but are not limited to, Sustainable Livelihood Program, Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations, Psychosocial Interventions and other Protective Services, and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

On the other hand, the second track is directed towards ensuring the delivery of social services to communities in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas, through different programs such as the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn, Social Pension, and Supplemental Feeding Program.

The Department is hopeful that through this expansion, more clients will benefit from DSWD’s support to the peace-building initiatives in fulfillment and attainment of a sustainable, just, and lasting peace.