By Julmunir I. Jannaral
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) in partnership with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), donated livelihood implements to chosen beneficiaries among the Badjao and Yakan tribal people from Basilan and Tawi-Tawi over the weekend.
This was after a few months of preparations, the farm implements were finally handed over to the beneficiaries during a simple ceremony held at the WestMinCom Officers’ Clubhouse at Camp Navarro, Calarian here in this city.
“Sa mga benepisyaryo ng mga makinarya na ating ipamamahagi sa araw na ito, nawa ang aming munting regalo ay makatutulong sa inyong unti-unting pag-asenso. Hindi man naging madali ang buhay nitong mga nakaraang taon bunsod ng pandemya at kaguluhan, wag tayo mawawalan ng pag-asa dahil parating na ang bagong magandang umaga. Ang inyong Sandatahang Lakas ay patuloy na aagapay sa inyong paglalakbay tungo sa tagumpay at kami ay magbabantay upang masiguro ang inyong kaligtasan,” said Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., WestMinCom commander. (To the beneficiaries of these farm machineries that we are giving today, we hope our little amount of gifts can improve your livelihood little by little. We know in the past months your lives were with several hardships due to pandemic and the armed conflict. Hence, don’t lose hopes that the new dawn has arrived. Your Armed Forces continues to be your partners in safeguarding your safety.)
Turned over to the residents of Barangay Muslim Area, Maluso, Basilan, were assorted farming tools and equipment including 2 trailers, a power tiller, gasoline-powered water pump, water tank and hose, vegetable seeds, and several gardening tools. The implements were received by Amin Pansulani, barangay chairman of Muslim Area.
Also, four units of cassava graters were donated to the farmer and women sector of Barangay Baguindan, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. Each cassava grater has an estimated cost amounting to P62,000.00. Ilma Ajanti, the parent leader of Baguindan received the livelihood implements on behalf of the farmer and women sector of the said barangay.
Winston Aylmer Camarinas, the head of Cotabato Field Office of UNDP said the UNDP supports the farmers and women to aid in the existing livelihood of the communities. “Through this, we will be able to sustain the gains of peace and address poverty which is one of the root causes of criminalities and worst, terrorism,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Badjao tribe of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi received fishing tools and equipment including boat engines, plastic water tanks, fishing nets, and several others. The livelihood implements were received by Isnaj Kingkaw Nurlagi, chieftain of the Badjao tribe.
Col. Wendell Basat, the assistant chief of Unified Command Staff for Civil-Military Operations of WestMinCom, Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. commended the sponsors and supporters of this project including the Embassy of Japan, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the provincial government of Basilan, and the UNDP.
“The men and women in uniform appreciate the role of our partners and stakeholders in achieving our vision of a peaceful and progressive community, devoid of the threats of terrorism, extortion, and extremism,” he said.
“We have already gained a substantial headway in achieving inclusive and sustainable peace which signifies that indeed cooperation and the involvement of everybody is the key to moving forward,” Lt. Gen. Rosario, Jr. further stated.
The activity was graced by the presence of Dr. Shurhayda Aguisandra who represented Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman-Salliman; Ariel Hernandez, co-chair of the Joint Normalization Committee (OPAPP); and Suda Michio and Okada Fumiaki of the Japanese Embassy. Also present during the activity were Winston Aylmer Camarias, head of UNDP Cotabato Field Office; Faith Evangelista, admin and finance analyst, and Judith de Guzman, programme analyst all of UNDP. JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL