DILG to start constructing processing centers for rebel returnees
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will start constructing more processing centers for rebel returnees, Secretary Eduardo Año, DILG officer in charge, said Tuesday.
The construction is in preparation for the so-called localized peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
This type of negotiation, however, was already thumbed down by the communist rebels who have been waging an armed revolution in the countryside for nearly five decades.
Año said processing centers, or halfway houses, are temporary residences, which be new structures, established in places under local government units that would ask for such facilities.
The centers will be a venue for “rehabilitation and healing sessions and education and skills training activities.”
“A halfway house will serve as a reintroduction of former rebels to society,” Año said in a statement. “In here, we will try to equip them through skills training.”
“That’s why it’s important for our partner LGUs to have that kind of training,” he added in Filipino.
Año said parnter LGUs would get financial assistance of P5 million for each halfway house to be constructed through the Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).
LGUs will get the assistance only after complying with the procedural requirements, which include a complete assessment of the provincial or highly-urbanized city government, signing of a memorandum agreement, and submission of a project proposal and supporting documents.
Nine provinces have already given the fund to construct processing centers in Kalinga, Mountain Province, Masbate, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato.
For the past three years, the DILG has released P59.7 million as immediate assistance to 471 former rebels, livelihood assistance to 459, reintegration assistance to 361, and firearm remuneration to 132.
The peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDF was supposed to happen on June 28 in Oslo, Norway but did not push through after President Rodrigo Duterte canceled the negotiations. /je /atm
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