When we were young, our history books taught us about a certain Philippine revolutionary society from the year 1892 that was composed of brave Filipinos who were ready to fight for the country’s independence.
Called the Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK or Katipunan), the group had members who all shared a single goal: to give power and a voice to oppressed Filipinos.
These members, as many of us know, were called the katipuneros.
Fast forward to modern-day Philippines, the term katipuneros is once again being used by locals in the town of Santol, La Union, to describe brave Filipinos who are also fighting a battle––this time, however, it’s against drug addiction.
For most people who are recovering from drug addiction, finding a job after undergoing rehabilitation can be quite tricky. Most of the time, prospective employers are easily turned off when they learn that the applicant has a “spotty” work history or a criminal record.
This is also the reason why, more often than not, recovering drug addicts tend to relapse into their old ways due to the fact that they don’t feel accepted by society.
To address this issue, the municipal government of Santol in La Union has been following the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Yakap Bayan Framework in providing help and assistance to recovering drug addicts––or katipuneros, as the locals call them.
With the said framework, the government hopes to not just provide rehabilitation services to the town’s katipuneros, but to also help them secure a decent and steady source of income through skills training and livelihood assistance.
A Different Kind of Support
In April 2018, the DSWD provided a total of 158,000 pesos worth of funding to support the livelihood projects of the Pagsadagan nga Agturong Raniag ken Ekonomiya SLP Association––a local group of katipuneros who underwent rehabilitation in the town.
The association provided different skills training such as furniture and soft broom making, bonsai beads making, and barako coffee and food processing. Among those who greatly benefitted from these projects is Cardo (not his real name) of Baranagay Mangaan.
According to Cardo, the town’s rehabilitation and skills-training program helped him get back on his feet. In fact, he now earns a steady income by supplying furniture goods to April Joy Home Decors and Furniture, one of the biggest furniture retailers in the Ilocos Region.
“Maraming binigay na training sa amin sa loob ng anim na buwan, pero mas pinili ko ang furniture making dahil marami akong tanim na mga puno,” Cardo said in a press release. “Gusto ko, ako mismo ang gumawa at magbenta.”
Cardo says he is thankful to all those who supported him and his fellow katipuneros in changing their lives for the better. Now, he is returning the favor by employing other katipuneros as furniture makers in his growing business.
Want to learn more inspirational stories about Santol town’s very own katipuneros? Visit the DSWD website!