Ending Insurgency

THREADING THE PATH TO AUTHENTIC HAPPINESS: 53IB’s Project Good Life Holds Family Day for FRs (Friends Rescued)

As part of the Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “MATAPAT” Battalion’s initiatives to prepare former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels as they reintegrate into main society as transformed and productive members of the community, the 53IB in partnership with Good Life Psychological Services recently launched Project Good Life for FRs (Friends Rescued) with the kick-off activities including a Family Day held at 53IB Headquarters Camp David Sabido, Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur on March 20, 2021.

With at least 40 participating FRs who surrendered to the 53IB, “the said Family Day program addresses family concerns, parenting techniques, and bonding activities for FRs with their loved ones. Project Goodlife understands the essence of having a family that provides role models in a child’s life – an ideal family that will soon produce good citizens of our nation,” Dr. Moibe Olitres said, a proponent of Project Good Life.

“The event aims to furnish space for FRs to get-together with their families, and to introduce the essence of both camaraderie and bona fide happiness,” Dr. Oliters said.

With the theme: “Project Good Life: Threading the Path to Fulfillment and Happiness with FRs (Friends Rescued)”, the 40 FRs underwent experiential activities encompassing the following subjects: Goodlife 101: Understanding the Self by Family Therapy, Art Therapy, Play Therapy, and Music Therapy Goodlife 102: Human Development and Parenting Goodlife 103: Physical Fitness, Sports, Music, Recreation, and Mindfulness Goodlife 104: Purpose of Life and Spirituality.

During the Family Day program, the FRs’ faces were filled with authentic excitement and happiness. “These influencing smiles is one-thing that everybody needs to see, smiles that fade the FRs’ former stressful lives. Such smiles tell us there is really a reason for hope for a better life. Seeing them genuinely happy is truly fulfilling. Thanks to all those who are behind these activities who whole-heartedly support this program to go beyond success.” Dr. Olitres said.

“I am so happy and overjoyed because of this experience. I have not experienced this before,” Analyn, an FR participant said.

“Thank you to all the people who are behind this program. I am so happy and thankful for recognizing us as we start anew. I hope that many more rebels will return to the government so that they would also experience what we are experiencing now,” Jessie, another FR participant said.

“The gesture of the FRs’ joyful emotions were observed as they are now experiencing the government’s sustainable support in meeting their physiological, psychological, and academic needs. Our prayer is that many more rebels will go back to the mainstream to find peace and change their life for a better future,” YLS program facilitator JC Robledo said.

“Project Good Life would be an important part of our FRs’ journey to a better life as responsible and productive members in our peaceful communities. In the family, our values and characters are formed. We also form our worldviews and understanding about peace and the realities of the world we lived in. The FRs’ healed family is a good place to start building peace,” 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Herrera said.

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