More than forty (40) families who were formerly identified under the Rebolusyunaryong Partido ng Manggagawa sa Pilipinas (RPMP) – Revolutionary Proletariat Army (RPA) – Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) – Tabara – Paduano Group (TPG) but is now duly transformed into a People’s Organization (PO) called Kapatiran para sa Progresong Panlipunan, Inc. – Aklan Chapter, have recently received not only the initial core shelters but support facilities and livelihood projects as well.

On March 10, 2022, DENR Undersecretary Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr. represented Acting Secretary Jim O Sampulna in gracing the milestone events held in Brgy. Cabugao, Ibajay, Aklan where two project ground breakings were done, namely: for the 28-units single detached two-bedroom housing for the Kapatiran that will form part of their Peace and Development Community (PDC) and for the Emergency Food Reserve (EFR) Production Plant.

An initial of sixteen housing units out of 44 were also turned-over to Kapatiran members during the event. The housing units were built by the 63rd Engineering Batallion of the Philippine Army.

The 28 two-bedroom housing units, also called “core shelters” shall complete the 44-housing units committed by the government to the Kapatiran members who will resettle in Ibajay PDC site. The core shelter provision forms part of the final step of the 2000 Peace Agreement which the government executed for the Kapatiran, as outlined in the Clarificatory Implementing Document.

Meanwhile, the EFR Production Plant is a partnership among Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Kapatiran and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), formerly known as Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP). This is to support a long-term livelihood and to provide nutritious and ready-to-eat food that can be used as sustenance in times of calamity and disasters.

Also, during the said event, turn-overs of the following support and livelihood facilities were done, to wit: Coco Mill Facility, Water Distribution System and Solar Mechanized Facility.

The Coco Mill was a contribution to the Kapatiran by the Provincial Government of Aklan which will provide them with livelihood through crude oil (coconut) production to be used as feed ingredient or raw material for cooking oil and pharmaceutical and industrial products.

Kapatiran members are now equipped with the basic necessities with the turn-over of the water distribution system and solar mechanized facility right within the PDC site.

As part of attaining the provisions on peace process, the government led by the OPAPRU and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have guided Kapatiran members since 2014 towards being reintegrated into the mainstream society by providing them first with livelihood.

From 2014-2020, the DENR in Region 6 have provided  the Kapatiran with a total of 401 hectare of project areas enrolled under the National Greening Program (NGP). The Kapatiran was able to raise 398,367 seedlings with total project cost of more than six million pesos.

Their PDC site was established with DENR granting them the tenurial instrument called the Community-Based Forest Management Area (CBFMA) which was awarded to them in April 25, 2018, thereby assisting them in their reintegration to the mainstream society. From there, development projects snowballed and the provisions of other necessities are provided by other national government agencies.

In his message to them, USec Adobo gave another great news to Kapatiran members in Aklan by relaying what Secretary Jim O Sampulna said: “This is really a community but we were talking of some other missing element. Your 57 hectare may not sustain the raw material needed for your oil mill. We will be adding another 100-hectare to your 57 hectare.” Kapatiran members are overjoyed with this pronouncement.

“The process to finally give them everything they needed for their reintegration to the mainstream society may have taken years. But it was all worth it and we believe the Kapatiran appreciates our sincere efforts and that of the other government agencies,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Livino B. Duran.

Along with DENR Usec Ernesto D. Adobo, Jr., the activity was also graced by OPAPRU Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., MGen Benedict Arevalo of the 3ID, PA, Department of National Defense Undersecretary Cesar B Yano, Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores, Kapatiran National President Veronica P. Tabara, and Aklan PENR Officer Merlene B. Aborka./DENR 6