Press Releases
From hopeless to hopeful: a man’s journey from government adversary to administration benefactor

Tatay Rudy (not his real name) grew up resenting the government, thinking that help through the latter’s programs and services only reach a select few, handpicked by those in power. 

Young and defiant, he later found himself joining the armed struggle to wrest control away from those in government, the people he thought were too naive to think about their welfare, the people who live in the so-called ‘laylayan’ of society.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead, he trudged forward, believing that the ideals taught to him by the people who recruited him to the armed struggle will finally end generations of misery and put them in the path to true and lasting peace. 

Tatay Rudy and his comrades later found themselves living in woodlands, fugitives to the very society that he grew up with. They spent countless nights lying down on empty stomachs, staring on limited resources, waiting for a slumber that will take away their miseries. 

It didn’t take long for Tatay Rudy to realize that he was mistaken with the path he chose. Though at first reluctant and afraid, he chose to surrender to authority and start his journey towards reclaiming lost freedom and all the privileges of living in democracy. His comrades soon followed and a community was born. 

Tatay Rudy and 42 other rebel returnees returned to the fold of the law, with the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (PA 5ID) taking custody and providing for their immediate needs. 

The PA 5ID also provided shelter for them and their families in an area adjacent to the former’s camp, lush with soil and other resources ripe for agriculture-related activities.

An association was later founded, named SALAKNIB Former Rebels Integrated Farm Association and was registered as such through DOLE. Not long thereafter, the agency through its Isabela Field Office, profiled the members of the association for possible assistance. 

Fast forward to June 25, 2021 and the convergence efforts of the DOLE, the PA 5ID and LGU San Mariano, Isabela led to the awarding and turnover of livelihood assistance to the 43 former rebels in livestock raising, specifically on egg laying production. The assistance came from the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) under the KABUHAYAN formation component, enabling poor, marginalized and vulnerable workers in the informal and formal economies to start individual or group livelihood undertakings. 

The livelihood assistance amounting to P1.2M gives Tatay Rudy and the rest of the association concrete and tangible evidence that the government cares and prioritizes vulnerable groups such as them. 

In his acceptance speech, Tatay Rudy thanked the government for helping him and other rebel returnees when they were lost and for never treating them any different.

Nagpapasalamat ako na tinanggap niyo kami kahit mayroon tayong mga pagkakaiba sa ideolohiya dati. Nakita ko ngayon na totoong mayroong suporta na ibinibigay ang gobyerno sa mga tulad namin kaya naman hinihimok ko ang iba nating mga kasama na sumuko na at maranasan rin ang ginhawang naibigay nila sa amin,” Tatay Rudy said in a mix of Filipino and Ilocano. 

The area provided by the PA 5ID also provides for a pond for raising tilapia fish as well as a sizable land that the association has started toiling for fruits and vegetable farming. 

The story of Tatay Rudy and the association, while inspiring, is only tipping the tip of the iceberg as the DOLE Regional Office 02 plans to roll out livelihood assistance to the 100 identified influenced barangays in the region later this year.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, in keeping with the goals of Executive Order No. 70 and his role as the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) for Region II, has already earmarked P50M for the roll-out of assistance to the identified barangays and the DOLE RO2, through Regional Director Joel M. Gonzales has started initial training of its livelihood staff to enable the swift implementation of the program later on. 

We are confident that with this amount, we can instill hope into the people living in the identified barangays that the government’s resources are present to assist and uplift their living conditions,” Director Gonzales said. 

Tatay Rudy meanwhile reflects on his experiences seeing both sides of the divide, saying he wouldn’t change anything, as it enabled him to understand where the real help and assistance come from. The government has extended assistance to him and will continue to do so, just as he now extends the same to his family, friends and acquaintances. ###

 

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2021-07-02
Directors Corner

DIRECTOR JOEL M. GONZALES


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