DSWD extends livelihood assistance to FRs and POs in Nueva Ecija

Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija: Social Welfare Development Secretary and the concurrent Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security, Region 3, Rex Gatchalian, led the ceremonial turn-over of livelihood settlement grants to 30 “Kasamang Kaugnay” or Former Rebels (FRs) and sustainable livelihood program assistance to the three (3) People’s Organizations (POs) held at Bulwagang Bandong, Kaugnay Officers’ Clubhouse, Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on Monday, April 29. 

Each FR received a livelihood settlement grant amounting to Php20,000 and Php2,000 in cash food assistance, while the three People’s Organizations under the Nagkaisang Samahan sa Bayan ng Baler Federation received a Sustainable Livelihood Program Assistance worth Php300,000.

Sony Cabitana, President of Nagkaisang Samahan sa Bayan ng Baler Federation, who is a former member of the Communist Terrorist Group’s Underground movement, expressed her gratitude to Secretary Gatchalian for the livelihood assistance they received. 

“Hindi namin ito inaasahan, pero masaya kami na ininform kami ng 91IB na meron daw kaming matatanggap na biyaya. Yung mga proposals namin na ibinigay pwede na naming gawin ngayon at makapagsimula kami. Hopefully, tuloy-tuloy at maging matagumpay ang aming nasimulan,” Cabitana said. 

It was in the year 2012 when she decided to return to the folds of the law and took an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before the 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion, Philippine Army, formerly situated in Baler, Aurora. 

“Naging Barangay Councilor po ako nun, kaya nahihirapan po ako sa kaliwa’t kanan na prinsipyo, but with the help of 48IB, naliwanagan po ako. Nabago yung prinsipyo ko sa buhay, ngayon kasi isa na ako sa mga nagpapatupad ng pagbabago sa aming kumonidad. Sa tulong ng gobyerno at sa gabay ng 91IB, matutupad po namin ito,” she added. 

Meanwhile, Secretary Gatchalian, in his message, expressed their commitment and support to the Kasamang Kaugnay and POs as they continued rebuilding their lives. 

There is no peace if there is no development, and there is no development without peace. Sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng livelihood grants at sa pagbibigay ng assistance sa social welfare, kami po sa DSWD ay patuloy kaming nangangako po sa inyo na gagawin namin ang aming role at responsibility sa inyo”, Gatchalian said. 

Major General Andrew D. Costelo PA, Commander, 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, Philippine Army, recognized the support of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict as the unit addressed the challenges posed by threat situations and the presence of the enemy within Region 3. 

“While much has been accomplished, there remains to be done. We must reinforce our commitment to the well-being of our people and the stability of our region. By harnessing the indomitable spirit and dedication of our troops, along with the support of government sectors like the DSWD and our partner stakeholders, we can address the root causes of insurgency and alleviate poverty in our communities,” MGen Costelo said.

To formally welcome the Former Rebels, the 7ID called them as ‘Kasamang Kaugnay’ as part of the campaign to encourage them to be part of the Kaugnay family, living a peaceful life along with their loved ones.