by Bohol Standard
Almost all of them former hard-core rebels, they have learned the hard way that going against the law doesn’t indeed pay.
Gov. Edgar M. Chatto once again welcomed back to the folds of the law rebel returnees in Danao Wednesday in time for the release of the livelihood assistance from the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh). in coordination with the Office of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development (OPS,
More than P1.4M, assistance was handed to 42 beneficiaries to include; 18 Informal Tillers, 14 KR Resettlement Beneficiaries and 10 Non-KR Resettlement Beneficiaries.
Joining Gov. Chatto in a simple turnover ceremony were Provincial Agriculturist and Socio-Economic and Environment Management (SEEM) Cluster Head Liza Quirog, Second District Board Member Romulo Cepedoza, SugBohol Task Group Commander Col. Allan Martin of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Col. Julius Tomines, 2nd Special Forces Battalion Commander and Mita Tecson of the OPSWD.
Ex-rebels were led by Epitacio Ramirez a.k.a. Kumander Vargas, who was once a very active rebel leader and a professed avid supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Ramirez once worked with rebel legal fronts and the Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (Humabol), whose ways disappointed them and opened their eyes to the true meaning of patriotism and love of country.
Earlier, Quirog, together with other members of the Community Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM), presented to Ramirez and his comrades the Provincial Government’s programs on farm support, food self-sufficiency, livelihood and other essential concerns pursuant to HEAT Bohol and LIFE HELPS strategies of the province.
The former rebels’ allegiance to the government is an offshoot of the failed promises of the leftist revolution which they now see as hopeless, clearly understanding now that the ideology they once believed in only aims to serve its masters, leaving the masses disillusioned with nothing for their families but utter poverty.
Maricel Bantilo, in behalf of OPAPP Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles, delivered the latter’s message of community empowerment through the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) or PAMANA under the Aquino Administration.
PAMANA is the government’s flagship program for peace and development which aims to promote community resilience by reducing poverty and vulnerability, improving governance and strengthening capacities of communities to address peace and development issues through activities that promote social cohesion.
Right after the distribution of the livelihood assistance, Chatto and the rest proceeded to the Kalayaan Resettlement Center in Barangay Remedios, Danao for an ocular inspection. The governor wanted to see personally what other necessities the settlers needed.
After decades of fighting against the government, Ramirez and his men realized that they were just being used; with their leaders living outside the country in wealth and luxury, while they and their families live in the mountains in utter poverty with no hope of a better future.
Feeling the sincerity of the Chatto-Lim Administration in lifting them from poverty and desolation, the returnees pledged not only to uplift their quality of life but also help TEAM BOHOL in convincing their “comrades” who are still arms against the government to come down and surrender and live peaceful lives.
With there eyes clearly seeing the light, Gov. Chatto assured of continuous assistance for their economic development and is himself assured of “lasting cooperation, lasting unity and lasting peace among all peoples living in Bohol.” (jlv/EDCom)