NABUNTURAN, Davao de Oro – Apart from the regular assistance given to a newly-declared insurgency-free province, Governor Dorothy Montejo-Gonzaga emphasized the need for educational scholarships in its geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) to sustain the peace efforts.
In a press briefing here Wednesday afternoon, Gonzaga said they have revised the scholarship program of the province making sure that slots will be given to students in GIDAs and former rebels (FRs) or their family members.
“For the FRs or we call them ‘friends rescued’, they can avail of the scholarship. It is also made available for their families or relatives,” she said.
Gonzaga added they are also catering to scholars of the various indigenous people’s tribes and children of solo parents.
She assured that their regular assistance in GIDAs would continue to avoid the reentry of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels into their communities.
Gonzaga said they are using the Provincial Peace and Order Council funds to provide the needs of the communities in the province.
“It is much more challenging today because since there is no presence of the NPA, the expectation of the people from the provincial government is high. They are now keen on the benefits of being insurgency-free,” she said.
In June this year, Davao de Oro was declared insurgency-free by the provincial peace and order council after the dismantling of armed rebel units in the province.
From an insurgency hotbed with 12 guerilla units, the military weakened the NPA to just one during the latter half of 2021.
The remaining rebels under the Guerrilla Front 2 which is the oldest NPA unit in Mindanao, eventually left Davao de Oro to free the province from insurgency.
Four months after its declaration, the region was also declared “insurgency-free” following the series of successful peace and order initiatives that dismantled the remnants of the NPA in the area. (PNA)