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Halfway Houses for Former Rebels continue Amidst Covid Pandemic

 

 

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur-The global crisis caused by COVID-19 might have put almost everything into a sudden halt but not the full implementation of halfway house projects in Bicol region.

With the on-going construction of halfway houses in Camarines Norte and Sorsogon, the government is more than ready to accommodate the growing number of Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members who are returning to the folds of the law.

In Camarines Norte, the construction of the said facility inside Camp Busig-on, Tulay na Lupa, Labo town which started in October 2019 is already 90 percent.

The same facility will be constructed in Barangay Cogon, Juban town in Sorsogon province.

Halfway houses serve as temporary shelters for former rebels (FRs) as they undergo the process of reintegration to the mainstream society.

Right now, halfway house in Camp Bonny Serrano, Masbate province is already operational, which also serves as venue for livelihood and skills trainings provided for former rebels.

 

Alias Raymart, a former rebel who temporarily resides in the said facility along with 17 other FRs and their families, narrated how his life changed when he abandoned the CTG.

According to him, the fear of being killed by soldiers while hiding in the mountains and the loneliness of being away from their families are enough reasons to make the life inside the armed movement unbearable.

"Naisip ko na malayo na ako sa panganib dahil sa maganda at maayos ang pakikitungo sa amin ng mga sangay ng ating gobyerno. Napagtanto kong may mas mapayapa at magaan palang pamumuhay na naghihintay sa akin na ganito napapa-improve pa ang kaalaman dahil sa mga binigay na mga training tungkol sa hanapbuhay na pinagpawisan namin tulad ng sa TESDA," a grateful Raymart said.

Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) under MGEN HENRY A ROBINSON JR PA highlighted that these developments are attributed to the earnestness of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) which aims to fast track the delivery of efficient services to the public.

“Ang gobyerno ay hindi tulad ng CTG na mapanlinlang. Itong mga proyektong ito ay patunay lamang kung gaano tayo kaseryoso na tulungan ang mga dating myembro ng CTG na makapagbagong buhay. We know that some of them are hesitant to surrender because they fear for their lives. Halfway houses are also built to ensure their safety,” MGen Robinson said.