CATARMAN, Northern Samar– A total of 52 former rebels who returned to the fold of the law in this province have recently received 403 chickens as well as 53 sacks of feed as part of an egg-layering project under the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program in barangay Cablangan in Mondragon town.

The former rebels, who are now called peacebuilders, expressed gratitude to the local and national government for the opportunities and the chances given them and their families to live a new life free from hunger and fear.

At a forum initiated by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and the Provincial Task Force Balik-Loob, one of the peacebuilders shared the experience he had at the hands of the communists, saying everything was hard work and they were always in fear of their lives.

“I thank the government for giving us a new life free from hunger and fear,” the peacebuilder, also known as Manoy, declared.

Aside from the egg-laying livelihood project, the provincial government, through the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), built the first halfway house called Darangpan Center, where former rebels temporarily stay while their financial assistance is are being processed.

Another big-time project being implemented is the housing project in a more or less 17-hectare ‘Kauswagan Village” exclusive for peacebuilders situated at barangay Cablangan, Mondragon town.

During the forum of the peacebuilders and the concerned government agencies, some issues were exhaustively discussed, such as the sustainability of the livelihood program, and how the peacebuilders handled the financial assistance extended by the government.
The forum served as a platform to settle these issues and to inject inputs on the reintegration of the peacebuilders into the community.

For its part, the DILG conducted an orientation on the local government operation, the various public institutions, their roles and responsibilities, and while BGen. Efren Morados of the Philippine Army discussed their responsibilities towards sustaining peace and development in the province.

Most important, the activity was a venue for integral healing and transformation of God’s love, mercy, and compassion. (MMP/AND/PIA Northern Samar)