Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija November 21, 2022: Twenty-eight former rebels (FRs) in the province of Ilocos Sur benefitted from counseling and food assistance provided by the Provincial Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) last Monday.
The activity dubbed “Kamustahan with EO 70 Clients” provided psychosocial support through a one-on-one interview with the former rebels held at the Halfway House, Barangay Taleb, Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
It was led by representatives from DSWD headed by Ms. Fe Sarmiento, SWO IV/Head, Community-Based Services, DSWD-R1 and the Provincial Social Welfare Office of Ilocos Sur headed by Ms. Irene Tabarangao, SWO II.
Said activity was made possible through the collaboration of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur, 71st Infantry Battalion (71IB), and 69th Infantry Battalion (69IB) of 7th Infantry Division (7ID), Philippine Army.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Michael Bautista, 71IB Commanding Officer, expressed his gratitude to DSWD Field Office 1 for its continuous support to the Former Rebels and former conflict-affected communities in Ilocos Sur.
Previously, DSWD FO-1 handed over livelihood assistance amounting to Php 3 million to 10 associations in former Communist Terrorist Group-affected barangays in Ilocos Sur as starting capital for their chosen community livelihood project. Some of their livelihood include swine fattening, rice retailing and general merchandise among others.
Apart from that, the said agency also distributed a total of Php 140,000 to the returnees to help augment the everyday needs of their family.
Moreover, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur distributed food packs for each returnee.
Maj. Gen. Andrew Costelo, Commander, 7ID, emphasized the importance of psychosocial support for the FRs as it doesn’t only provide an important coping mechanism during their difficult times but also helps maintain their physical and mental health.