Enhanced Aftercare Programs, Activities for Former Rebels Proposed

(From L to R) DILG Provincial Director Yvette Sunga, 701st Brigade Commander Brigadier General Reuben Basiao, DOPPO Provincial Director PSSUPT Harry Espela, and Major Almar Macabacyao during the CLIP Committee Meeting at the DILG office on December 1.

DAVAO ORIENTAL – The members of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) Committee here are pushing for more meaningful interventions aiming to further sustain and boost former rebels’ progress in their journey towards reintegration to the mainstream society.

During the committee’s regular meeting on Friday, the members have expressed the need to create activities and programs designed to effectively roll-out recovery and development interventions for former rebels after they have finished their one to three months stay at the Provincial Government-run halfway house for former rebels called Happy Home.

Among the proposed interventions discussed are the provision of employment and the implementation of a housing program for former rebels which are aimed to help them establish themselves economically and empower them to be functioning members of the community.

Brigadier General Reuben S. Basiao, Commander of the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade and co-chair of the CLIP committee said that “What we need to do is to enhance our activities after their [former rebels] rehabilitation at the Happy Home,” stressing the significance of the implementation of long-term aftercare interventions that would complement the government’s provision of cash assistance to former rebels.

Just recently, the earmarked funds worth P1.8 million for the 28 former rebels wh are currently enrolled to CLIP is now ready for release, announced Department of Interior and Local Government Provincial Director Yvette T. Sunga. With each former rebel receiving P65,000 each as immediate and livelihood assistance, the funds intends to address the immediate needs of former rebels and their families and to provide them startup funds to establish a peaceful and sustainable livelihood. For the year 2017, a total of 55 former rebels have already been enrolled in the CLIP.

Meanwhile, BGen Basiao also suggested intensifying monitoring efforts of the former rebels after they have completed their in-house rehabilitation to ensure that they have adapted well in the civilian life, especially in terms of social and economic reintegration.  He added that the Philippine Army here has formed the “former rebel’s desk” in the battalions to complement efforts of the Happy Home staff in the monitoring. PD Sunga also proposed the creation of a committee similar to the Provincial Government’s CLIP at the municipal level to intensify the progress monitoring of former rebels.

Davao Oriental’s implementation of the CLIP is being touted as the country’s model program in aiding former rebels in their transition towards civilian life and is regularly being benchmarked by different provinces in the country. However, the CLIP committee here is still looking at boosting its already laid best practices.

Among the innovations being implemented here is the military’s “deradicalization” program and the Ugnayan Center which are set to be adopted in other provinces. “These are among of the best practices we are teaching to other units as one of the military approaches in the implementation of the Happy Home,” said Basiao.

Davao Oriental’s CLIP committee here said that by focusing on the practical issues and challenges that former rebels face as they reintegrate to society is critical in the efforts of sustaining peace.  By Karen Lou Deloso

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