DUMAGUETE CITY - Twenty-seven former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) have each received PHP8,000 worth of business kits during a two-day consultative meeting initiated by the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) in Central Visayas under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The activity was held on Monday and Tuesday at the Guihulngan Satellite Skills and Development Center, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental, where different agencies, such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) presented and committed their programs, projects, and training to the village chairs of the city's 16 barangays.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Negros Oriental provincial director Nimfa Virtucio on Wednesday told the Philippine News Agency that the first day was dedicated to consultations and program briefings but the distribution of the livelihood kits was held on the second day.
The former rebels, who were endorsed by the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army to receive the business kits under the DTI's Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay Program, are from Guihulngan City (19) and Canlaon City (8), Virtucio said.
"Of the number, 20 of them chose to engage in the goat breeding while the rest opted for 'sari-sari' or retail stores, E-load for cellphones, high-value vegetable production, and pig fattening," she said.
The DTI distributed to the beneficiaries a pair of goats each (one male and one female) while vouchers were also given to the other former rebels as "we are not allowed to give the business kits in cash," she added.
The goats have been insured by the local agriculture office in case they do not survive due to disease or calamities, the DTI official said.
Meanwhile, 10 other former rebels have been profiled and will soon also receive the same business assistance from DTI.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The National Democratic Front has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as "an integral and inseparable part" of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)