By Ali G. Macabalang
The interim government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has continued to provide food assistance to various sectors affected in social movement restraining strides against the COVID-19 pandemic, attuning this time its latest leg of focal aid dispersals to constituent orphans.
The BARMM’s Tulong Alay sa Bangsamorong Nangangailangan (TABANG), a flagship project of Chief Minister Ahod “Al-Haj Murad” Ebrahim, has allocated 25-kilo bag of rice and varied food items for each beneficiary-orphan, a sector BARMM Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua tagged as one of “most vulnerable” group.
“Having no parents to lean on in times of emergency is one factor that makes orphans a priority group to serve,” Sec. Macacua, concurrent BARMM minister for environment and natural resources and energy, was quoted as saying in the vernacular.
Initially, the TABANG program has targeted as beneficiaries at least 500 orphans identified in different orphanages in this city and in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato, the Bureau of Public Information (BPI) said.
Last Tuesday, Oct. 13, TABANG program workers handed 150 bags of rice at 25 kilos each and several food items to five orphanage centers in Pikit, North Cotabato, the BPI said.
The food dispersal came at a time when residents of Pikit town were reeling from the tragic massacre of four people, including an infant, at Barangay Lagunde on Oct. 9. Fortunately, police and military authorities backed by volunteers from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had arrested the following day three suspects in the carnage. (Read separate story by The Philippine Muslim Today.)
Among the five orphanages served by the TABANG program was the Markaz Tadabbur, which houses 40 orphans from various areas including Carmen and Banisilan towns in North Cotabato, according to orphanage head Ustadh Mojahed Pamansag.
The orphans-focused food rationing began early last week in partnership with the Cotabato-based youth group called Al-Jalis As-Salih, Inc., the BPI said.
Earlier dispersals covered orphanage centers here and in nearby Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao, serving 273 orphans, the BPI said.
TABANG program workers were set to serve this week orphanage centers in Shariff Saydona Mustapha and Shariff Aguak, both in Maguindanao, the BPI said in a press statement
The BPI statement mentioned the distribution of similar volume of rice and food items to over 3,000 tricycle drivers in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, both areas placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) since last week.
The BARMM government, through the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) led by Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, had rationed rice and food items first for orphans at the Darul Aytam Orphanage in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao, the BPI said. (AGM)