Peace and Order Program director retired police colonel Gabriel Lopez sits in the middle of the panel to represent Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates.

A meeting was conducted Thursday in the city with the goal of providing former rebels with employment opportunities and alleviating poverty in areas where the New People’s Army (NPA) had fostered the ideology of rebellion.

The Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) held its first meeting for the purpose yesterday, April 27, at a hotel in the city, according to the Palawan Provincial Information Office (PIO).

The meeting was attended by Peace and Order Program director retired police colonel Gabriel Lopez, who represented Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates as chairman of PTF ELCAC, and was presided over by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provincial director Vivian Abueva.

The focus of the discussion was on the Implementing Guidelines on Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment cluster, as well as the Barangay Development Program.

This was followed by the Integration of KASIMBAYANAN of the Philippine National Police and presentation of accomplishments by TESDA, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), thr Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The purpose of the PRLEC is to wean former rebels away from the mindset of fighting against the government by providing them with possibilities for gainful employment and working to alleviate poverty in areas known to be afflicted by the NPA.

The PRLEC is composed of 27 member agencies, including national, local, law enforcement agencies, and private institutions.