DUMAGUETE CITY — Fifty former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) in Negros Oriental have completed a skills training program offered by the government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The RPA-ABB is a breakaway group of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
The skills training is part of a peace agreement with the government to provide former rebels with the opportunity to return to mainstream society, land a job, and live decent lives, Governor Roel Degamo said on Tuesday.
Degamo stressed the province needs employment and not war, referring to government efforts to win the peace by crushing the insurgency problem.
The 50 former RPA-ABB rebels, who now call themselves as “Kapatiran” (brethren), have completed 33 days of masonry (national certificate II or NC II) and 21 days of carpentry (NC II) recently.
This means they can now be employed abroad, according to TESDA provincial officer Dina Esmas.
She said the trainings were conducted on-site in Barangay San Miguel, Tanjay City in Negros Oriental, where the Kapatiran is based.
The graduation ceremony was graced by representatives from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
Aside from the skills training, infrastructure projects are being implemented or have been completed in conflict areas in the province since last year amounting to some PHP250 million.
Degamo said that “when one is killed, somebody is hurt, and when one is hurt, hatred is created and vengeance will follow. Thus, the cycle continues.”
This, the governor believes, was what happened in the past recent weeks in the province, where more than 20 people were killed, including four police intelligence officers, last July.
After the skills training, the governor directed the Provincial Employment Service Office (PESO) headed by Jimmy Deposoy to help find the former rebels employment here or abroad.
While waiting for calls from the PESO for possible employers, their names are now part of the database of skilled workers in the province. (PNA)