Former NPA rebels get skills livelihood training in Agusan Del Norte

Twenty-five former combatants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Agusan del Norte are now undergoing a 20-day technical-vocational and livelihood skills training.

TRAINING FOR EX-REBELS. Lt. Col. Julius Cesar Paulo (left), commander of the Army’s 23rd Infantry Battalion, together with Agusan del Norte provincial administrator Jerry Laureto (center), and Technical Education Skills Development Authority provincial director Rey Cueva (right), leads the opening of the 20-day technical-vocational and livelihood skills training for the former rebels on Monday in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. The training aims to prepare the former guerillas for their reintegration into mainstream society. (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

1st Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, the civil-military operation (CMO) officer of the 23rd Infantry Battalion said the 20-day training of former rebels (FRs) started on Monday and expected to end on September 18 at the 23IB headquarters in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

“This is a joint effort of the 23IB, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Agusan del Norte (TESDA-ADN), and the Agusan del Norte Provincial Social Welfare and Development in the province (PSWDO),” Maglalang said in a statement Wednesday.

He said the technical-vocational training includes electrical installation and maintenance, organic vegetables and concoctions production, and computer literacy training.

TESDA-ADN head Rey Cueva said he was elated with the willingness of the former rebels to undergo the technical-vocational skills training

Cueva said the training offered by TESDA seeks to alleviate unemployment and help the government fulfill its peace and order initiatives.

“We strongly believe that by letting you learn new skills, you can use it in applying for a job, so you can gain your own salary to buy your basic needs, support your children’s education, and your family’s medical needs. We hope that you will focus and be attentive in this training because this will help you find a good job for a brighter future,” Cueva said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paolo, 23IB commander, said the training is part of the package that former rebels received through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) to prepare them for their reintegration into mainstream society.

“The training will also ensure the FRs (former rebels) to become productive members of their communities through the new skills and additional knowledge they will acquire. It will also help them start their new lives as they go back to their families,” Paulo said.

He also underscored the government initiatives aimed at ensuring that combatants become productive members of the communities where they reintegrate.

“Years of enduring the hardships in the mountains and witnessing the terroristic activities of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) greatly affected the perspectives of our FRs,” Paulo said. “This training will help them overcome the incorrect points of view the CNT leaders indoctrinated and dinned into their minds,” Paulo said. (Alexander Lopez, PNA)

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