Stakeholders help ex-rebels get back to their feet in Palawan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, (PNA) — Four former rebels were assimilated over the weekend into the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) under the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) of Palawan.

In a conference with stakeholders, Army Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla, civil military operations chief of the Western Command (Wescom), said the former rebels are the third batch that were integrated into the CLIP.

Canilla said the former rebels will receive cash assistance along with trainings and seminars and other assistance such as livelihood, PhilHealth and scholarships grant especially for their children.

“The former rebels have surrendered years before and that they have been processed by the PPOC along with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), have undergone trainings and seminars with the cooperatives and will be given livelihood projects,” he said.

Canilla said that under the CLIP, the former rebels were taught how to use and manage their money and prevent them from returning to their past life as rebels.

“The second important component is that we prepare the community where they would live through the conduct of seminars to the leaders and the civil society and a briefing to the entire community,” he said.

Related to this, the PPOC is set to continue its project in creating a “halfway house” intended for the former rebels to stay where seminars will be conducted before allowing them to return to their community.

Canilla said the stakeholders, led by Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, the PPOC chief, are willing to provide resources to the rebel returnees. The stakeholders conference was attended by chiefs or a representative from PhilHealth, Iwahig Penal Farm, TESDA, DepEd, Palawan State University, Western Philippines University, PSWD, CSWD, among others.

An integrated and strategic approach will maximize synergies and produce sustainable results, Canilla said. A particularly successful feature of CLIP is the close collaboration between the military, social welfare agencies and education.

The CMO chief said there should be a greater emphasis on skills where improved confidence, self-control, communication skills and alike benefit people throughout their life, in their relationships and interactions within their communities.

The acquisition of soft skills, he said, is empowering for the individual but also vital for their employability. Employers are increasingly looking for these skills and policy is moving towards the accreditation of such skills, including those acquired informally.

“It is important to find a balance between education and labor market orientation of this type of program to maximize the long-term opportunities of a rebel-returnee,” Canilla said.