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LGU Masbate Prepares Former Rebels’ Community Integration



CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur—The Provincial Government of Masbate together with DILG-V, 2nd Infantry (Second to None) Battalion, PSWD, and PNP-Masbate spearheaded the ground breaking ceremony of the Masbate Halfway House at Camp Bonny Serrano, Masbate City, Tuesday, January 30.

The said activity marked the start of the construction of 5-million worth project that aims to provide shelter for the former rebels (FR) as they undergo the process of reintegration to the mainstream of the society.

It can be recalled that this development came after the DILG issued the guidelines that enumerate the systems and procedures that should be followed by concerned provinces and highly-urbanized cities in order to access the fund intended for the construction of a halfway house in accordance to pertinent laws and prescribed accounting rules and regulations. Through DILG-V headed by Dir. Elouisa T. Pastor, the funding was released to the provincial government for the realization of the proposed building.

As defined under Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2016-02 between the DILG and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the halfway house refers to the temporary residence that serves as the processing center for FRs. The construction of halfway house will not only provide physical structure but also enhance the capacities of local government units and national government agencies in the implementation and sustainability of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

In the local setting of Bicol Region, the 902nd Infantry (Fight and Serve) Brigade facilitated the establishment of the “first” halfway house for this purpose. Currently, it is being utilized by the FRs in the province of Camarines Norte wherein the local government is actively partaking for the implementation of the program. Allocated funds amounting to P140-K has been released by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office for the improvement of the existing facility.

With this, the 9th Infantry (SPEAR) Division under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Jesus A Manangquil Jr AFP expressed its heartfelt gratitude to Local Government Units and partner agencies for making this projects possible. He also vowed that 9ID will continue to establish partnership with different stakeholders so that this endeavour will be replicated to other provinces in order to achieve effective conduct of rehabilitation, education, and skills training activities to include psycho-social support for healing and reconciliation of FRs.

On the other hand, he calls out the members of the terrorist group to abandon their armed struggle and take the opportunity being offered by the government that will bring them back to their normal lives. Moreover, the Army commander stressed out that the Spear Troopers are always ready to implement the full force of the law for those who will continue to use violence to advance their ideology.