ARAKAN, Cotabato-A total of 25 former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered to the 19th Infantry Battalion will undergo skills training with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Lt. Angelique Taban, Civil Military Operations Officer of 19th IB said Thursday, July 19.
Lt. Taban added that TESDA – Cotabato Provincial Office, Institute for Motorbikes and Auto Mechanics Incorporated (IMAMI) and Alpha Company of 19th IB headed by Lt. Prolen Bonacua will facilitate the carpentry skills training. The beneficiaries will also receive starter tool kits and daily allowance for duration of one month.
“This community based skills training provided by TESDA is just part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits package which can be availed by NPA rebels who return to the folds of law”, Lt. Taban said.
The E-CLIP is a government program which seeks to contribute toward achieving the goal of permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups. It aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and Militia ng Bayan (MB) as productive citizens.
Among the beneficiaries was Alias Janjan who said he was happy to enrol and undergo the said training while waiting for his financial and livelihood assistance. He was one of the former NPA rebels who surrendered with firearms to 19th IB last April. Another beneficiary, Alias Jimboy, was also grateful that the skills training was community based and conveniently arranged for the former rebels, especially that most of them are farm workers at the same time.
TESDA Specialist Randy Sionosa said the agency is mandated to implement programs that will enhance the skills of Filipino workers. He also explained to the participants the overview as well as other benefits of the skills training during the opening program which was held at held at Barangay Manobo, Magpet, Cotabato on July 18.
Meanwhile, Outcome Manager Guianodin Abdilah of DILG – Cotabato Provincial Office lauded the effort of TESDA, 19th IB as well as the local officials for supporting the implementation of E-CLIP. For his part, Lt. Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, Acting Commanding Officer of 19th IB was optimistic that with this recent development, more NPA rebels will be enticed to surrender and return to mainstream society.
“This concerted effort by the line agencies proves the government’s sincerity in the implementation of the E-CLIP. It also belies the allegations of the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist groups and left-leaning organizations who accused the said program as a mere propaganda”, Lt. Col. Paraso said.
Moreover, Lt. Col. Paraso is calling for the rebels who are still out there in the mountains to surrender for them to avail of the program of the government. He is reiterating his plea for the rebels not to follow what their leaders say but rather think about their families and their future. On the other hand, Lt. Col. Paraso expressed his gratitude to the local officials of Magpet, Cotabato for extending assistance in the said endeavour. #JPC