FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija — At least 45 former members of the NPA’s Underground Mass Organizations (UGMO) from Brgy Caparian, Sta Cruz, and Brgy Paoc Norte, Sta Lucia of Ilocos Sur recently received 10,000 pesos as a starting capital for their chosen livelihood.
This financial assistance was distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 1 with the assistance of Army’s 71st Infantry (KAIBIGAN) Battalion on May 18-19, 2022.
According to MGen Andrew Costelo, Commander of the 7th Infantry (KAUGNAY) Division, Philippine Army, the financial assistance to former UGMO members is an initiative to the sustained efforts of the NTF-ELCAC in the Ilocos Region.
Before the distribution of the financial assistance, the beneficiaries underwent a Social Preparation to capacitate, inculcate and reiterate their responsibilities, as well as the role of their Local Government Unit in the project.
“Ang tulong pinansiyal na ito ng gobyerno ay naglalayong magkaroon kayo ng panimula sa inyong napiling hanapbuhay. Kalimutan niyo na ang inyong mapait na karanasan sa kamay ng teroristang grupo at mag focus na lamang sa pagpapabuti ng kinabukasan ng inyong pamilya. Huwag ninyong sayangin ang pagkakataong binigay sa inyo ng gobyerno,” Costelo said.
Meanwhile, Alias Nena, a former UGMO member expressed her deepest gratitude to the 71IB, DSWD, and the government for their concerted efforts in assisting them and sustaining the efforts of NTF ELCAC in their community.
“Kami ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa DSWD, sa Army at sa ating mahal na gobyerno dahil sa ibinigay nilang tulong pinansyal para sa ating pag-uumpisa ng isang maliit na negosyo kahit kami ay dating tumalikod at kumalaban sa ating gobyerno. Pinatutunayan lamang nito na totoong may gobyerno na laging umaalalay sa mga komunidad tungo sa pagkamit ng kapayapaan at kaunlaran. Totoo ang EO70, at ang mga pagtutulay ng Philippine Army para sa aming minsan ay tumalikod sa ating gobyerno,” said Alias Nena, former UGMO member.
In order to emphasize the sincerity and support for this effort, various public servants assisted in the said event. Present during the activity were Mr. Roger Jimenez, DSWD-R1 Special Concerns Coordinator, Ms. Anna Mae Palaroan, DSWD-R1 Ilocos Sur Team Leader, respective Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers of Sta Cruz and Sta Lucia, Maj Bethuel N Barber, 71IB Executive Officer and the different barangay functionaries of the partner communities.