From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 12, 2020): Soldiers give livelihood aid to ex-rebels in Aurora (By Jason De Asis)
BALER, Aurora — The Philippine Army’s 91st Infantry Battalion (91IB) provided livelihood assistance to eight rebel surrenderers in Barangay Calabuanan in this capital town on Saturday.
The livelihood assistance is part of the 91IB’s Enhanced Adopt-a-Barangay Program (Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko) program.
Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, acting commanding officer of the 91IB, led the distribution of 40 broiler chicks and other poultry supplies to the former rebels as aid amid the health crisis brought by the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“In times of crisis, the act of giving we call 'bayanihan' is innate to us all Filipinos. Being able to extend even a little out of whatever we have to our less fortunate 'kababayans' give a feeling of joy in our hearts,” Rubio said.
Col. Andrew D. Costelo, commander of the 703rd Infantry Brigade, said the effort of the 91IB is not just finding a way to provide food for the needy people, including the former rebels, but to let them engage in livelihood activities that will open opportunities in the future.
“As we commemorate Black Saturday, let the undertaking be a reminder that it is our responsibility not just to give fish to the least of our brethren but to teach everyone as well how to fish,” Costelo said.
Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, commander of the 7th Infantry "Kaugnay" Division, lauded the initiative of the 91IB in giving hope to people in dire need to make both ends meet.
He said that although small, the livelihood starter package lights the way for brighter days ahead “as we often hear and say that it is always better to light one small candle than to stumble in the dark,” Rosario said.
The 91IB launched the enhanced Adopt-a-Barangay program last April 4 by distributing 120 food packs to the indigents in Barangay Calabuanan here.
Rubio said the other company under the 91IB will also conduct the same activity at the soonest time to help the communities most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.