Gov’t soldiers teach ex-rebels farming methods

The Philippine Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion (73IB) have started teaching former rebels the various methods of farming and animal raising so that they could earn a living without depending much on financial assistance coming from the government.

FARMING SKILLS. Soldiers belonging to the 73rd Infantry Battalion tend to the crops being raised in a demo farm in Davao Occidental where former rebels are taught farming and animal-raising methods. The training program dubbed by the military as “Bagong Buhay, Bagong Pag-asa” aims to help surrenderers earn a living to sustain their family’s needs. (Photo courtesy of 73IB)

Lt. Col. Ronaldo Valdez, 73IB commanding officer, on April 11, 2020, said the hands-on training for the rebel returnees aims to enhance their skills in farming and other forms of economic activities.

The training is given under the “Balik-Loob Program” of the government as part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and through Executive Order 70 of President Rodrigo Duterte which institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in ending armed conflict in the country.

The farming and animal-raising program dubbed by the military as “Bagong Buhay, Bagong Pag-asa” helps former rebels who have opted to abandon their armed struggle to sustain the needs of their family.

The returnees are taught how to raise their own vegetable farm, chickens, ducks, and even goats inside the “Neutralizer Demo Farm” that serves as their Laboratory Training Center.

The program also involves the active participation of the Provincial Agriculture Office in Davao Occidental and military personnel who know various farming methods.

Aside from the livelihood training, the returnees are also given the opportunity to mingle with villagers and familiarize with their surroundings in order to polish their social skills.

These trainings are specifically directed towards equipping the rebel returnees with enough abilities to make a sustainable living in preparation for their reintegration to the mainstream society. (Eldie Aguirre, PNA)

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