Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro – On 23 June 2021, DOLE Occidental Mindoro led by Field Office Head Bernardo B. Toriano, awarded a livelihood check amounting to Php800,000.00 to the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) of San Luis, Mamburao headed by Punong Barangay Mercedita T. Benasas as the Accredited Co-Partner (ACP) for the General Merchandise project of the Kalasag at Tagapagtaguyod ng Repormang Panglipunan Association – MAPSSA, benefitting 51 former rebel members during the Former Rebels Peace Summit held at SDA compound, Brgy. Ligaya, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

By establishing this store, it allows customers from the rural areas to have access to a broad selection of products. The store carries stocks of groceries, poultry supplies, and rice retails.

As to its impact on the association, it will not just provide a steady income to the members, but also ensures the availability of basic needs in case of immediate need.

The awarding ceremony was witnessed by Governor Eduardo B. Gadiano, and representatives of DILG, PNP, Provincial PESO, PSWDO, and SDA pastors.

“Lubos po ang pasasalamat ng aming samahan sa pamahalaan sa mainit na pagtanggap sa aming pagbabalik-loob, malaking tulong po ito para makapagsimula kami ng panibagong buhay at maging produktibong mamamayan tungo sa pagpapanatili ng katahimikan at kaayusan ng bayan” (We thank the government for welcoming us back; this (project) is a big help to us as we start a new life and become productive citizens towards maintaining peace and order)”, the association president said.

Representing Regional Director Atty. Joffrey M. Suyao, DOLE OccMin Field Office Chief Bernardo B. Toriano said, “This is the department’s contribution to the “whole-of-nation” approach of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) against insurgency. The DOLE livelihood program aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of our former rebels as productive citizens. Aside from that, we understand the need for immediate economic recovery for low-income households who lose much of their income; now is a great opportunity to start again.

In addition, a total of 36 members from the Tangkalan San Luis TODA were also set to benefit from the proposed Motorcycle Spare parts and Vulcanizing Shop Project as DOLE also awarded a livelihood check amounting to Php255, 275.00 to BLGU San Luis, Mamburao on 25 June 2021, at San Luis Brgy. Hall, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.

BLGU San Luis Punong Barangay Mercedita T. Benasas lauded the Department’s unrelenting response in helping their constituents to recover from the impact of lockdowns on people’s livelihoods and supporting the nation’s campaign in achieving permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts.

With the sincere intention of the government to bring hope and new life to former rebels who decided to go back to the folds of the government, livelihood assistance is one of the most effective interventions that would provide sustainable results to its beneficiaries.

End/Gener L. Francisco