Sustainable livelihood project for Former Rebels, soon to rise in MisOr

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental – A Livelihood Project for the Former Rebels was officially presented to the public in a groundbreaking ceremony held at the 58th Infantry Battalion, Sitio Migbanday, Poblacion, Claveria, Misamis Oriental, October 26, 2021.

The initiative “Anlag Ani Tapukanan: A Livelihood Arcade for Former Rebels” is a collaboration between many national agencies, including the Claveria Local Government Unit, the Misamis Oriental Provincial Government, and the 58th Infantry Dimalulupig Battalion.

The project was purposely created with the goal of assisting former rebels by providing livelihood opportunities and equipping them with the resources to sustain them. Several meetings with partner agencies, LGUs, and former rebels were held during the conceptualization and planning for the formation of Anlag Ani Tapukanan, including the formulation of its name, Anlag and Ani, both Higaonon names that reflect the lives of the rebel returnees.

Sunrise is translated as Anlag in Higaonon, whereas Harvest is translated as Ani. Sunrise is a symbol of rebirth or awakening, and it depicts the former rebels’ return to mainstream society when they finally surrendered and returned to the folds of the law, signaling the start of their new beginning. This decision marked a new beginning and, as a result, an opportunity to learn new things; and the finest new thing they are learning is the newness of their waking from a terrible unlawful existence as a member of the Communist Terrorist Group to becoming a responsible and loving citizen of the community. Harvest, on the other hand, alludes to the gathering of crops, or in this case, the gathering of the former rebels’ handcrafted and retail items and services, which will be sold and offered to residents, motorists, and visitors along Route 955.

Anlag Ani Tapukanan is a livelihood arcade to which includes a sari-sari store, barbershop, cafeteria, souvenir shop, plant shop, massage parlor, tahi-anan, and other amenities. This will act as a “one-stop shop” or consolidation place, displaying former rebels’ livelihood items as well as people’s organizations’ products from across Eastern Misamis Oriental. This is a physical manifestation of the government’s concerted efforts with former rebels, indicating the government’s care even after providing them with monetary and other resources to assist them in their reintegration into society.

The aim of the livelihood arcade was further stated by Lt. Col Ricky L Canatoy, Commanding Officer of 58IB. “The main objective of this arcade is to assist our former rebels in reintegrating into society through livelihood opportunities and commercial endeavors, utilizing their skills learned from previous trainings to maximize the government’s financial assistance. This is really important, helping them sustain and flourish what was given to them, especially now that many NPA members have returned to the folds of the law. We begin by educating them and providing them with social and skills training. The establishment and maintenance of livelihood opportunities will surely dissuade FRs from returning to armed conflict, as the economic circumstances in their communities was one of the key reasons for joining the movement at the time.”

Meanwhile, Hon. Meraluna Salvaleon-Abrogar, Municipal Mayor of Claveria, said, “The LGU will continue to support the plans and programs of 58IB and assist the former rebels in providing them stress debriefing seminars and social preparation trainings to begin with as they have undergone difficulties and trauma during their stint as NPA fighters. We guarantee you that the LGU is always available and willing to help you with your requests on behalf of our former rebels. In addition, I’d want to use this opportunity to thank our former rebels. Thank you for returning to the folds of the law and for making peace with the government. Because if it weren’t for this, the instability and unrest in our municipality and province would have continued, so thank you for making the right decision.”

Furthermore, Hon. Yevgeny Vincente “Bambi” Emano, added, “This livelihood arcade is a reflection of the government’s continued commitment to provide not just the ends, but also the means for our former rebels to return to normal, peaceful lives; and I hope that the remaining NPA members will see that the government is sincere in reaching out to them and in giving them a beautiful life lived with dignity.”

The event was graced by the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) Committee headed by Governor Bambi Emano as the Chairman, together with LGU Claveria Mayor Hon. Meraluna Abrogar, TESDA- MisOr Provincial Director Ms. Marie Cherie R. Garrido, Department of Tourism- Region 10 representatives’ Mr. Rico Libre and Ms. Rheta Mae Eblamo, and DTI- MisOr Provincial Director Ms. Almer Masillones.

All of the former rebels in the area were very grateful, as the cause aims to considerably improve their skill sets and income-generating capabilities, thereby eliminating poverty and achieving long-term development as well as acting as powerful catalyst for reintegrating them to mainstream society.

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