By Rey Anthony Chiu/PIA-Bohol | 04:57 PM November 5, 2019
Nurturing and guiding them back to the mainstream, government agencies in Bohol took convergence again to a new level showing the rare Bayanihan spirit in hand-guiding 115 former rebels towards self-sufficiency and productivity towards gainful employment and sustain a peaceful productive life away from the mountains.
Led by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Bohol and its and its partner agencies collaborated in the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 (E.O. 70) or the Whole-Of-Nation Approach in attaining development and peace-building initiatives in conflict-affected areas and worked hand in hand to train these acclaimed freedom fighters on the skills they would need to survive in peaceful environment.
While then brandishing arms to effect the change they want in the society, these former rebels who finally decided to go the way to peace still have the desire to make the change, what a better way than to make it by themselves through construction?
Seeing this potential, TESDA looked at the possibility of getting them the skills and the competence to bring about the help for the Build, Build Program of the government.
Enrolled in the different courses in the construction sector, the former rebels took on Shielded Metal Arc Welding with national certification 2 (NC II), Electrical Installation and Maintenance (NC II) in TESDA Pilar Training Center (PTC), while women went on to PTC Bilar for the Bread and Pastry Production NC II.
In some areas, some former rebels now companions in reform took the services of TESDA accredited private training institutions like the Cebu Science of Welding and Skills Technology, Inc. (CSWSTI), Dumaguete Christian School Inc. and the Maribojoc Demo Farm.
These centers also offer Carpentry NC II, Bread and Pastry Production NC II and Organic Agriculture Production NC II respectively, in support of the builders of the program.
Bohol TESDA Provincial Director Grace Corazon Castillo, the chairperson of Task Force Dagohoy, a provincial task force created to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) particularly the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) thanked the implementing institutions in providing skills training to this marginalized group.
“We are determined to help Boholanos particularly the former rebels rise, start anew and be ready to work with our government,” TESDA-Bohol Provincial Director, Grace Corazon C. Castillo, who has since retired from service said.
Castillo, who had served the government through the TESDA also expressed her gratitude for the combined efforts of the task force as she delivered her speech during the ceremony, held in Camp Rajah Sikatuna in Carmen Bohol last September 25, 2019.
That day was a happy day for the former rebels as they gathered anew, now in a happy environment, unlike the times when they huddle in some forests, ready to scamper to safety anytime a threat is seen.
This time, the former rebels took to the aisles in an army base, beaming with pride as their receive their certificates of graduation from the courses that would hand them sustainable livelihood, and off the time when they would feed their families with money extorted from some businessmen.
The mass graduation given by the country’s premiere technical skills education, and the success of the program would not also be possible without the presence and support of the of the provincial government of Bohol, governor, Arthur C. Yap represented by Mr. Pedro Budiongan, Leo Rubia representing Mayor Ricardo Francisco A. Turibio of the Municipality of Carmen, Jerome Gabin in behalf of Maria Soledad L. Balistoy of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources with Victor Doblas in behalf of Candido T. Samijon and with the all-out support of the Police and Military Forces.
TESDA specifically thanks the Philippine National Police (PNP) through Police Col. Jonathan A. Cabal represented by Police Lt. Conrado Manatad and the Philippine Army, with Maj. Jose Virgilio Pabon, Executive Officer of the 47 IB-Katapatan Batallion: the country’s two strong forces directed to protect life, liberty and property in the country. with a report from Marichu Cua/TESDA