CALOOCAN CITY, Oct. 22 (PIA) -- Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar recently visited Camp Osito Bahian in Bukidnon, which houses the "Peacemaker Farm" being maintained by former members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) in cooperation with the 403rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.
During his visit, the PCOO chief took a tour of the agricultural livelihood assistance given to former rebel beneficiaries, aligned as programs under the Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Northern Mindanao where Andanar is the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security or CORDS.
"Maganda na nababanggit natin ang mga ito dahil at least naipapakita talaga natin sa buong bansa na talagang tumatakbo ang Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Mayroon tayong naisho-showcase na hindi lang tayo puro salita at mayroon talagang nangyayari [It is good that we mention these because at least we can show the whole country that the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict is really working. We can showcase that we are not all talk and something is really happening," Andanar said.
Aside from their adlay production area, the "Peacemaker Farm" also cultivates corn, coffee, dragon fruit, and abaca.
Shortly after, the official joined the launch of the Basic Pipefitting training for 50 former NPA rebels, where he inspired them as they took on a fresh and peaceful start with assistance ready for them.
"You are a living testament as to how this whole-of-nation approach can become successful, can become a reality," he said.
He encouraged them to fully avail and 'claim ownership' of the programs and projects prepared for them by the government and use these as stepping stones to become productive members of society.
"Kinahanglan duna moy pag-angkon sa programa nga inyong gi-atenan. Kung nag training mo og bread making, pipefitting ... dili ni mahimong successful kung walay ownership [You have to have ownership of the programs that you attended. If you availed trainings in bread making, and pipefitting, these will not become successful if you don't have ownership]," he said.
Meanwhile, Colonel Ferdinand Barandon reported that there are 10 CAPDev Clusters in Bukidnon, where government programs and services are poured in bid to end local communist armed conflict in the province.
"The role of the Armed Forces is to provide the right venue para yung ibang agencies will address the basic issues that are being used by the communist terrorist groups para ma-recruit sila, at para ma-sustain ang kanilang armed struggle [The role of the Armed Forces is to provide the right venue for other agencies to address the basic issues that are being used by the communist terrorist groups to recruit them, and to sustain their armed struggle]," he said.
Since 2016, the unit has already encouraged over 600 rebels to return to the fold of the government through the implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Localized Integration Program (E-CLIP).
According to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) 2020 report, some 114 FRs have benefitted from the E-CLIP, 60 beneficiaries of the P50,000 livelihood grant, and 68 beneficiaries of the firearms remuneration program this year.
Andanar said the increasing number of rebel returnees proves the success of the government's peace efforts. (PIA NCR)