Mental rehab for ex-rebels essential in reintegration process

By Priam Nepomuceno / Philippine News Agency

(File photo)

MANILA – Taking care of former rebels' mental health is essential in their reintegration into mainstream society, a defense official said.


"Aside from deradicalization, psychosocial assistance is also integral for our former rebels to be able to start their lives anew. We want them to also live a life with an optimal state of mental health and overall well-being,” Defense Undersecretary and Task Force Balik-Loob chair Reynaldo Mapagu said in a statement Thursday night.


Mapagu's remarks came after the Philippine Army's 53rd Infantry Battalion and the JH Cerilles State College signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for a mental rehabilitation project for FRs dubbed as "Project Good Life".


The signing of the MOA took place at 53rd Infantry Battalion (53IB) Headquarters in Camp Maj. David Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur last May 28.


"I applaud the 53rd Infantry Battalion and JH Cerilles State College (JHCSC)'s recent Project Good Life. The psychoeducation program will be a huge help for the reintegration of former rebels, or rather, "friends rescued" into our society," said Mapagu, who is also head of the E-CLIP and Amnesty Program (EAP) Cluster of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).


"Project Good Life" is a psychoeducation program for former rebels who surrendered to the 53rd Infantry Battalion which carries the theme "Threading the Path to Fulfillment and Authentic Happiness with FRs (Friends Rescued)".


The project takes a holistic approach to improve the mental health and overall wellness of the FRs, as well as address their other rehabilitation needs.


Mapagu hailed the unit's intervention program with JHCSC and commended its unwavering support to Executive Order No. 70 and sustained efforts to the whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict in the country.


He added that "Project Good Life" is a fine example of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to end communist insurgency in the country.


"This clearly shows that we can be all united to achieve the peace that we deserve," he said. (PNA)

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