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Friend Rescued To Rescuing Others With Food

Alias Helen from Dimataling, Zamboanga Del Sur with her sari-sari store granted by SLP

In an article submitted to the New York Times back in 1862 when battles were rampant in the U.S it was concluded that the cause of rebellion was not because people of the south wanted to go against their government or to show power against those of the north. It was identified that slavery had been the cause of it – well not directly, it was the only form of bond of union they knew, a means to send a message, it showed strength and support within their group from beginning until the end. The same thing can be said today.

In the Philippines, Executive Order No. 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte which seeks to institutionalize the whole of nation approach mandating the creation of a Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-ELCAC), one of its interventions in ensuring the former rebels (FRs) not return to its ways is the reception of livelihood assistance from the DSWD Sustainable Livelihood Program amounting to P20,000.00 each. This intervention hopes to achieve the holistic approach to improve the mental health and overall wellness of these FRs during their rehabilitation.

Down south of the Philippines, 63 FRs surrendered to the 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion, majority of them are residents of District 1 and 2 from the province of Zamboanga Del Sur. Prior to receiving grants, all FRs stayed in their barracks inside the Battalion, located in Guipos, Zamboanga Del Sur.

To former rebel Ka Amihan he refers to former rebels as friends recued. This was said in a press conference arranged by the 1002nd Infantry Brigade in Magpet, North Cotabato as he calls out to his fellow former rebels. The FRs in Zamboanga Del Sur underwent the required psycho-social activity by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and has availed the E-CLIP program of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) amounting to a total of Php 65,000 each in financial assistance.

One of the Friends Rescued, pseudonym Helen, residing in Barangay Kagawasan, Dimataling, Zamboanga Del Sur, married to a construction laborer and blessed with 2 children has been chosen as an SLP beneficiary. Helen stayed most of her time in a farm tending vegetables and root crops as their basic livelihood in the area. There have been times when they have experienced hunger, with no food to eat for her, her husband, and their children. With her husband’s inconsistent status of work, and their meager farm could not sustain both livelihood and food for them having no food to put on their table became a frequent problem.

During the orientation in preparation for the provision of livelihood assistance given by the DSWD-SLP, Helen’s proposed livelihood project was a sari-sari store. On November 18, 2020, she received the grant amounting to Php20,000.00. Initially, she wanted to use the grant to purchase a cow amounting to Php20,000. However she realized that it was difficult for her to earn an immediate income from cow raising especially when compared to their needs. She then decided to start the sari-sari store business as her original proposed project.

In this way, she can cater her neighbors’ basic necessities like canned goods, noodles, biscuits, sugar, and other menial groceries. It allowed her neighbors not to go further to buy groceries and spend extra for transportation to Pagadian City. Where the distance to travel to the two places takes two hours.

As of writing, her business is operational filled with a variety of grocery items. She maintained recordings of her transactions to avoid losses. She can earn around Php300 a day form her store. With her savings, she managed to buy a parcel of land in their area. And has also allocated money for emergency purposes like hospital expenses.

“Dako akong pagpasalamat sa 53rd Infantry Battalion og sa DSWD-SLP nga nagtabang kanamo pagpanginabuhi nga naluwas sa kagutom og kalisod. Daghan salamat sa tanan na gihatag ninyo na ayuda, nakatabang og dako sa amua,” heartily expressed by Helen.

“A big thank you to 53rd Infantry Battalion and to DSWD-SLP for helping us coping up with hunger and poverty. Thank you so much for giving us grants, it really helped us a lot,” heartily expressed by Helen.

This post was written by:

- who has written 12 posts on DSWD Field Office IX Official Website.

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