DAVAO ORIENTAL–The neighboring province of Compostela Valley is harmonizing its peace and development programs with Davao Oriental as it recently benchmarked the innovative programs on peace and development being implemented here.
The two provinces, which share common bor-ders and have the same challenges when it comes to insurgency, have agreed that in order to finally put an end to the long-running insurgency problem in this side of the region, both territories must synchronize their efforts and share possible solutions.
Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy, during his recent visit here, said his province intends to replicate Davao Oriental’s best practices on peace and development, particu-larly the implementation and the operation of its halfway-house for former rebels called Happy Home.
Implemented under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), the Happy Home has been enticing many Communist New People’s Army rebels here to sur-render to the folds of the law because of its attractive rehabilitation program which involves provision of comprehensive enabling services and assistance for their total healing and reha-bilitation as they reintegrate into the mainstream society.
As a result, the Happy Home has been touted as one the country’s model strategy in countering insurgency through non-violent means.
While Davao Oriental has already seen excep-tional results from all its efforts that bolstered its peace and security, Com-postela Valley is now being galvanized to adopt similar measures to prevent enemy forces being driven away from here in crossing over to their borders.”If these programs have worked in Davao Oriental then it should work in Compostela Valley,” said Uy who led his team consisting of the members of Compostela Valley’s CLIP committee.
Col. Erwin Bernard L. Neri, commander of the Philippine Army’s 1001st Brigade based in Maco, Compostela Valley, said that by replicating Davao Oriental’s anti-insurgency programs, especially the establishment of the Happy Home, both territories will be able to strengthen their campaign on peace and development.
He also stressed the importance of providing former rebels a more encouraging and conducive environment for their complete rehabilitation before they go back to the community.”Many rebels have already expressed their interest to surrender. So it is crucial to provide a facility where we would be able to house them,” he said.
He added that they also intend to replicate the latest innovations being intro-duced by the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade inside the Happy Home which ranges from the short-course de-radicaliza-tion program and farming and livestock production program, which will equip former rebels with new knowledge that they can apply as they go back to their community.
The first of its kind in the whole country, the Happy Home is a brainchild of the former governor, now First District Representative Corazon N. Malanyaon and is now being sustained by the present leadership of Governor Nelson L. Dayanghirang.
Banking on the colla-boration of various agen-cies as the hallmark of its success, the Happy Home offers holistic interventions such as health services, psychological and psychia-tric services, spiritual en-richment, sports develop-ment and team-building workshops, among others.
It also offers long-term interventions, such as the Alternative Learning System (ALS)that address low literacy rate among former rebels and Skills Training and Entrepreneur-ship Seminar before they become recipients to the CLIP’s Livelihood and Immediate Assistance amounting to P65,000.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Compostela Valley Province has also bench-marked Davao Oriental’s new peace and develop-ment program called Nagkakaisang Lingkod-Bayan ng Davao Oriental Barangay Outreach Cara-van which brings govern-ment services and develop-ment programs directly down to the grassroots level.
Uy said implementing this broad range of measures is a testament to the government’s efforts in reaching out to the people as this is also the thrust of the national government.
With Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley working together in their peace efforts, authorities are confident that all these initiatives will be able to sow the seeds of peace and weave resilience in the communities.