DSWD provides aid to former rebels, supporters in Soccsksargen

Published March 4, 2021, 9:22 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The government is committed to provide financial support to former rebels and communities affected by armed insurgency in Soccsksargen Region.


The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) has extended financial assistance to a total of 46 former rebels in Alabel, Sarangani province and 200 individuals in Banga, Cotabato City.

The DSWD Field Office XII (DSWD FO XII) reported that a total of 46 rebels received P5,000 cash assistance each under AICS.

Former rebel Amor Danway, 21, said wanting to get a college degree, he joined the armed struggle because their recruiters promised them good life and free education.

“I was recruited in 2015 since they told us I can get free education. It never happened. Instead, we were taught how to use guns and sent to the front line,” he said, noting a few actual armed confrontations he experienced with government forces in the mountains of Sarangani.

The DSWD FO XII said a cash assistance worth P3,000 and a box of family food packs were also given to 200 residents of Banga, South Cotabato.

Sammy Imba, 44, a resident of Lam-apos village anda father to seven children, thanked the government “for bringing to us its services.”

“This is a big help to us,” Imba said.

The DSWD noted it was Imba’s group that set on fire the rebels’ flag to condemn the atrocities the group perpetrated in the region. That was a turning point where they broke their allegiance to the communist underground movement and pledged their support to the government, it said.

“We are all for peace. And we will not stop until we achieve it,” said Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD regional director who supervised the distribution.

The DSWD is a member of National Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Under DSWD Memorandum Circular No. 3, series of 2020 or the Revised Guidelines in the Implementation of Executive Order No. 70, series of 2018, former rebels and their families, as well as individuals and families affected by armed-conflict who have been referred to DSWD, shall be provided with interventions that would address their immediate needs.

These interventions include temporary shelter, appropriate assistance under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS), and the provision of protective services, such as house rental assistance, psychosocial counseling, food packages, and hygiene and sleeping kits.

The DSWD said the former rebels will be assessed to ensure the provision of “most appropriate” programs and services to be extended to them.The programs and services that may be extended to the former rebels are enrolment in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), provision of livelihood assistance under the SLP, and Cash-for-Work (CFW) Program, among others.

“As one of the members of NTF-ELCAC, DSWD guarantees the implementation of social welfare and development programs and services to address various risks and vulnerabilities contributing to insurgency,” it said.