ONE HUNDRED members of the Kapatiran Para sa Progresong Panlipunan, Inc. will continue to serve as forest guards with the approval of the PHP9.6 million intended for their salaries in 2019.
The Kapatiran is an association of former rebels, particularly of the Rebolusyonaryong Partidong Manggagawa Pilipinas-Revolutionary Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPM-P/RPA-ABB).
Under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), some Kapatiran members were hired as forest guards under the National Greening Program (NGP).
Simon Elmer Colacion, Regional PAMANA Coordinator, said during a media forum held this week that they will be receiving PHP8,000 per month as honorarium.
The forest guards are spread across the four provinces of Western Visayas – Negros Occidental with 58; Antique, 22; Aklan, 14; and Iloilo with 6 forest guards.
“They are profiled members of the RPA and assessed by the OPAPP,” he said, adding that should there be requests for additional guards, it still has to go through the OPAPP.
In Aklan, the forest guards monitor and watch over forestlands, and provide support to regular forest rangers in the conduct of forest protection activities.
They also help serve show cause orders to non-compliant establishments on Boracay Island.
They cover the municipalities of Madalag, Malinao, Makato, Tangalan, Ibajay, Nabas, Malay and Buruanga, measuring 44,239 hectares.
The PAMANA program is the national government’s peace and development framework to respond to and strengthen peace-building, reconstruction and development in conflict-affected area.
In support of the program, the DENR is committed to provide employment to members of the RPM-P/RPA-ABB Tabara Paduano Group (TPG), enroll the Kapatiran to the NGP and identify peace and development community sites for the group.
Colacion said the group has been responsible for maintaining peace and order in Aklan.
“At present they (rebel returnees) are engaged in various income-generating projects and some were hired as forest guards,” he said.
The Aklan and Negros Occidental chapters of the Kapatiran were awarded a tenurial instrument called community-based forest management agreement (CBFMA).
With the CBFMA, members have tenurial security to develop, use, and manage specific portions of forest lands within their peace and development community (PDC) sites, resulting in the promotion of forest protection and utilize and sustain forest products.
Two of the four PDC sites in Aklan and Negros Occidental were awarded the CBFMA – Ibajay, Aklan and Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
The PDCs in the cities of Cadiz and San Carlos in Negros Occidental entered into an agreement with the DENR to develop and protect portions of the Northern Negros Natural Park. (PNA)