Ex-NPA rebels in NegOr receive E-CLIP aid

By Jennifer C. Tilos

 

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Four ex-NPA rebels in Negros Oriental were given financial assistance under the government’s E-CLIP led by Gov. Roel Degamo (4th from left) with Usec. Reynaldo Mapagu, chair of the Task Force Balik Loob of the Department of National Defense (DND) in a turnover ceremony in Dumaguete City. (PIA Negros Oriental)

 

Four former rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) from the towns of Mabinay and Zamboanguita received financial assistance amounting to P312,000 under the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Each ex-rebel received P78,000 representing P15,000 cash and check of P50,000 livelihood aid plus an additional of P10,000 as the personal support of Gov. Roel Degamo and P3,000 from the province’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

The formal turnover of the cash and livelihood assistance was led by Chair of the Task Force Balik Loob of the Department of National Defense (DND) Usec. Reynaldo Mapagu along with Degamo, Commander of Central command of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, and Department of Interior of Local Government (DILG) Provincial Director Dennis Quiñones.

The government officials recognized the former rebels’ decision to return to mainstream society and formally welcomed them to renew their lives.

Clement said the former rebels were victims of the Communist Terrorist Groups’ (CTGs) “deceptive strategy.”

“Instead of being in school and taking care of their family, they were tricked to join the combat in the mountains,” he said.

The AFP aims to work with local government units together with development partners and private sectors to achieve holistic program towards peace, development, and governance to give the needed solutions for the residents in the province, added Clement.

Degamo called on other NPAs to surrender to the authorities and take advantage of the government’s programs.

He vowed that the province will add P50,000 financial support on top of the E-CLIP assistance, especially to those who will bring in their firearms.

“I reiterate that we cannot win peace by bullets or armed struggle and because of the false belief that NPAs give to members to go against the government,” said Degamo.

He congratulated the rebel returnees for their willingness and courage in surrendering to the government.

“Peace and order are important because without it we cannot fully develop and progress, thus I want the people of this province to be healthy, happy and peaceful,” the governor said.

For his part, Mapagu urged other NPA members to return to the fold of the law and avail of the benefits of the government’s program.

“It is high time to end this communist insurgency problem as the government is serious in the program to win them back and ensure their well-being to become productive Filipino citizens,” said Mapagu.

The rebel returnees shared some stories of their plights and thanked the government for the opportunity to change their lives and the chance to live peacefully with their families.

Mapagu reported that in 2018, a total of 7,797 formers rebels surrendered or “nagbalik loob” and of that number, 1,700 were original members of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), NPA and the rest were Militia Ng Bayan or paramilitaries and all of them were given assistance.

E-CLIP is one of the flagship programs of the Duterte administration that seek to address social healing and national unity towards the higher objective of having just and lasting peace.

It aims to provide social equity to former members of the NPA, CPP, National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and the Militia ng Bayan to reintegrate them into mainstream society.

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Dgte rolls out programs for women

By Roi Lomotan

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Dumaguete City Councilor Lilani Ramon (in green shirt) expressing the City Government’s support to initiatives that promote the welfare of women during a Kapihan sa PIA forum on March 5, 2019 at Dumaguete City Session Hall.  (PIA7-NegOr)

The City Government of Dumaguete rolled out programs for the women residents here in time for the observance of National Women’s Month (NWM) this March.

Dumaguete City Local Council of Women (LCW) Chairperson Rosalinda Abellon disclosed that the City Health Office (CHO) offers free Visual Inspection using Acetic Acid (VIA) to all women residents in the city aged 40 years old and above.

VIA is a cervical cancer screening tool similar to Pap smear.

The free VIA screening will be held throughout the entire month.

Also happening throughout March is the capability building activity for initial responders of Violence against Women and Children (VAWC) or VAW desk officers in 30 barangays in the city.

Abellon said a team of service providers from LCW will conduct orientations and capability development activities to enhance their skill on handling women survivors of gender-based violence.

On March 19, members of LCW will visit the female inmates inside the city jail for its Women Inmates Day.

Ni-spend ta ug usa ka adlaw na gigahin para sa women inmates. Dapat pod sila gahinan ng oras ug budget ug naa assurance na wala ta kalimot nila (We will spend one day with the women inmates. We should also spend time with them and assure them that they are not forgotten. We should also allocate budget for their needs),” Abellon said.

Abellon shared that last year, the city government was able to allocate budget for the improvement of facilities inside the women’s correctional facility, particularly the construction of a function room for skills training activities after the LCW together with City Councilor Lani Ramon who chairs the Committee on Women, Children, and Family Life after they had a consultation with female inmates to discuss their needs.

The LCW chair also announced that the council will also spearhead a skills training event in cooperation with the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

In line with this, LCW held a Women’s Summit on March 8 at the DCCCO Multi-Purpose Cooperative Function Hall where different women’s group presented their programs and also their livelihood projects for women residents of the city.

The activity also featured talks on women empowerment.

On the other hand, female employees at the City Hall can avail of free beauty, massage, and other wellness services on March 14 at the Women’s Center Building along Rizal Boulevard for the “Pag-amuma” Activity.

Ato nang gigahin sa mga empleyada na babae. Kanang adlawa magrelax-relax sila (We have set that date so that female employees of the City Hall can relax),” Abellon said.

Apart from the said services, the city government will also hold contests and sports activities this week and later this month.

On March 12, there will be a Luto ni Nanay at the Women’s Center and on March 16 the city government will hold a Contest for Most Segregated Plastic.

Abellon also invited the women to participate in the zumba activity dubbed “Zumba ni Mama” on March 22, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Pantawan II along Rizal Boulevard.

There will also be an all-women beach volleyball on March 26-27 at the beach volleyball area at the Rizal Boulevard.

Meanwhile, Ramon assured that the City Government will continue to support and implement initiatives that will promote the welfare of women.

Some accomplishments of the city government in terms of advancing the welfare of women include the improvement of Casa Esperanza which is the city’s only crisis center for females who are victims of abuse and the improvement and capacitation of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk of the City Police Station.

‘Fish Right’ launched in Dgte

By Jennifer C. Tilos

 

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USAID Fish Right Start-up Event. Signing of covenant of commitment to sustainable fisheries in Negros Island with media, business, cooperatives, government agency partners and (looking on at the back) Most Rev. Bishop Julito Cortes of Diocese of Dumaguete and USAID Chief of Party Nygiel Armada. (PIA Negros Oriental)

 

A multi-sectoral partnership program dubbed “Fish Right” which aims to improve fish production and protect marine resources in the country worth US$25 million was launched Thursday in Dumaguete City.

This five-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be implemented in three areas in the country which include South Negros, Visayan Sea, and Calamianes Island Group.

During the Fish Right start-up event, partner institutions both from the provinces of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental have signed the covenant of commitment to sustainable fisheries management in Negros Island.

In the same activity, Chief of Party of USAID’s Fish Right Program, Nygiel Armada, said the irresponsible fishing practices and weak on-ground implementation of fishery rules contribute to the threat of marine ecosystem and against sustainable seafood.

“Our degree of fishing right now will redound to loss or deplete fish stock in the seas because we are catching the fish before it matures and even before they give birth,” said Armada.

It was noted that the problem of declining fish supply is evident not only locally but also globally.

Thus, Armada cited the aims of the Fish Right program, namely: to increase fish biomass in selected marine protected areas by 10 percent and strive to enforce the existing fishing laws.

“We struggle for almost four decades now and we thought that fishes are inexhaustible. The fishes are not coming back because we catch them before they grow…before they are supposed to produce and we are destroying its nurseries and coral reefs,” he lamented.

He explained that effective fisheries management and governance are needed to achieve sustainable fisheries, “manage the people who are utilizing and catching and at the same time who are creating rules for managing the fishery.”

In order to address the fish situation and improve fish-based food protein security, the said program also presents an ecosystem approach including “right-sizing” when catching fish.

“We believe that building partnerships with this Fish Right program can be even more successful. The USAID has committed to work with the Philippine government in sustainable fisheries management,” Armada noted.