Gov’t awards mobile rice mills for MILF ex-combatants

By Ali G. Macabalang

MOBILE RICE MILLS FOR MILF EX-COMBATANTS: Above is a BARMM-supplied photo on the June 10 awarding rite of 30 mobile rice mills for MILF ex-combatants in Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

COTABATO CITY

Decommissioned combatants (DCs) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have received 30 units of mobile rice mill machineries as part of joint socio-economic development strides meant to transform them into peaceful and productive civilian life.

Key officials of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) turned over the life-enhancing equipment to the MILF leadership and recipient-members on June 10 at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The award of the 30 units of mobile rice mills worth P30-million were the latest of government interventions pursing the Normalization Track under R.A. 11054 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) inked in 2014 by Malacañang and MILF, OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. told the Philippine Muslim Today news.

Previous similar interventions were done after the Aquino government inked the CAB with the MILF, Galvez said.

The CAB, fleshed out further legally under R.A. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), seeks to decommission the MILF’s 40,000 members and their firearms, and transform them to productive civilian life with packages of state-committed socio-economic, health and education interventions worth P1-million for each decommissioned member.

According to MILF and government accounts, some 12,000 of targeted MILF members have been decommissioned and each of them received P100,000 cash representing 10 percent of the total intervention packages.

OPAPP and DTI are among the the funding and implementing agencies of the socio-economic project called Inter Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization–Peaceful Return and Aggressive Inclusion Social Entrepreneurship (ICCMN-PRAISE).

The projected fund was reflected on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) both parties agreed and signed last Sept. 11, 2020 to promote the meaningful implementation of the Annex on Normalization of the CAB, according to an OPAPP statement conveyed by the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO).

The June 10 ceremony was attended by Trade, Investment, and Tourism Minister Abu Amri Taddik, Deputy Minister for Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Akmad Ebrahim, DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman, Ariel Hernandez of ICCMN, Parliament Member Shahara Mastura, MILF combatants, and other key dignitaries, the BIO said.

“This project is one of the ways to integrate our former combatants into [the] society by giving them sustainable livelihood that could improve their way of life,” the BIO quoted Minister Taddik as saying.


“Magpapatuloy po ang programa natin dahil sa suporta ng OPAPP at ang commitment ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa CAB, at pagtupad ng adhikain ng peace process,” Usec. Macatoman said for his part.


Hernandez, on the other hand, stressed that agriculture is “one of the biggest hope for the country’s economy to recover because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the BIO said


Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim sent in a message on the occasion, echoing the essence of decommissioning the MILF combatants alongside simultaneous efforts in building a robust bureaucracy for the new autonomous governance under the Political Track of the CAB and the BOL.

“The other half of the process is the normalization track which aims to transform our combatants as productive civilian members of the society and reform their respective communities from decades-long of unrest and conflict,” said Ebrahim, who is also the MILF chairman.


“The socio-economic aspect of the normalization process enables the MILF combatants and their families to utilize equipment that can provide a livelihood for them,” he added. (AGM)

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