Former Rebels spearhead relief efforts for fellow FRs affected by DavOr landslides
Fri | March 22, 2024

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BAYANIHAN SPIRIT IN ACTION: People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment, Inc. (PeaCE) and various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) come together to aid former rebels in Davao Oriental, who were affected by recent landslides. (Photo Courtesy: Agnes Reaño)

Former rebels (FRs) belonging to the People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment, Inc. (PeaCE) spearheaded relief efforts to aid their fellow former rebels in Davao Oriental, who were affected by recent landslides. In collaboration with various FR organizations and military units, PeaCe distributed relief packs on March 14 - 15, 2024, to 215 FRs from the towns of Mati City, Manay, Tarragona, Caraga, and Bagangga and other areas in Davao Oriental.

Through the initiative of its founder and National President, Ms. Agnes “Lola” Lopez Reaño, PeaCe was able to collect essential relief supplies, including clothing, rice, drinking water, and assorted goods. Among those who assisted the relief efforts were members of the Davao Oriental Former Rebel Association, Youth for Peace Movement CamSur, Cordillera Youth Leaders, and various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including the 1st CRG CRS-AFP, PA CMOR, 9th CMO Battalion, 66th Infantry Battalion, and the 701st Infantry Brigade.

“Hindi ko sila matiis. Kahit tinutulungan naman sila ng local government kagaya ng ibang mga nasalantang residente, iba pa rin yung may dadamay sa kanila sa oras ng mahigpit na pangangailangan na talagang nakakaintindi sa kanila,” Lola said, when asked how the project started.

"Lola Agnes," the driving force behind this initiative, has long championed the government’s counterinsurgency efforts, advocating for the holistic reintegration of FRs into mainstream society for the collective healing and unity of the nation.

PeaCe was assisted by the Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) chaired by Usec. Angelito de Leon of the Department of National Defense, who instructed the AFP to facilitate the airlifting of the collected goods and donations from Luzon and Visayas as well as the transportation of PeaCe personnel to Mindanao courtesy of the Philippine Air Force.

“This commendable initiative of FRs helping their fellow FRs serves as a testament to the Filipino 'bayanihan' spirit. It supports the objectives of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) in promoting self-reliance and resilience among its beneficiaries through financial, legal, health, educational, livelihood, psychosocial assistance, among others from member agencies of the Task Force,” Usec. de Leon remarked.

Since its inception on April 3, 2018, the Task Force has been facilitating the reintegration of former rebels and former violent extremists into the mainstream society. TFBL converges multi-agency efforts to provide needs based assistance and customized services, providing FRs and FVEs with various opportunities to support their transition to civilian life.

PeaCE is a non-profit organization of former rebels and supporters who are committed to fostering collaboration and empowerment for sustainable peace and development. Through various initiatives and partnerships, PeaCE strives to address socio-economic challenges and promote inclusive growth in communities across the Philippines.