VIGAN CITY, June 24 (PIA) – Twenty-three former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) received psychosocial support on June 22 at the headquarters of the 702nd Infantry Brigade in Barangay Bugbuga, Sta Cruz, Ilocos Sur.
The one-day activity was conducted through the efforts of the 71st Infantry (Kaibigan) Battalion, 702nd Infantry (Defender) Brigade and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office I under the Regional Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) of the Ilocos Region.
DSWD Field Office I Social Welfare Officer (SWO) II Mr. Angelo Tamag and SWO II Ms. Irene Tabarangao of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office of Ilocos Sur provided the counseling to the former rebels.
The activity was held to provide psychosocial support through a one-on-one interview with the former rebels to assess their issues and concerns after they were reintegrated to their communities.
DSWD Field Office I also discussed the different programs and services which the returnees may avail.
Moreover, the DSWD Field Office I distributed a total of P138,000 to the returnees to help augment for the everyday needs of their family.
The acting commanding officer of 71IB Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bautista expressed his gratitude to DSWD Field Office 1 for the unwavering support in extending various assistances to former conflict-affected communities especially to those who returned to the folds of the law in the province.
SWO Tamag said, “The DSWD Field Office I supports the thrusts of the RTF-ELCAC in the implementation of social welfare and development programs and services to conflict-vulnerable communities to show that the government is sincere and determined in addressing the various risks and vulnerabilities that contribute to insurgency.”
Meanwhile, one of the returnees also expressed his sentiments for the support of the government.
“Totoo ang sinseridad na ipinapakita at ipinadama ng gobyerno lalo na sa aming mga nagbalik-loob. Sa DSWD, 71IB at sa Philippine Army, maraming salamat po sa pagtanggap at paggabay sa amin na kahit kami dati ay tumalikod sa gobyerno, hindi po ninyo kami pinapabayaan,” says alias Daniel.
The psychosocial counseling is part of the efforts of the National Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to sustain the gains in the Ilocos Region. (JCR/AMB/ATV, PIA Ilocos Sur)