Photo courtesy of MILG
COTABATO CITY—Fifty-six (56) former members of Daula Islamiya Group in the province of Lanao del Sur received financial assistance worth Php5,000.00 and food packs amounting to Php7,500.00 from the Bangsamoro Government on Oct. 12.
The distribution was held at 103rd Infantry Brigade in Camp Ranao, Marawi City through the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government’s (MILG) program—Project Tulong ng Gobyernong Nagmamalaskit (TUGON)—which aims to transition former combatants, who have returned to the fold of the law, back to the mainstream and to ensure that they will not revert back to unlawful activities.
Accordingly, the program allocated a total of Php20,000.00 to each of the combatants which will be distributed by tranche on a monthly basis.
Alias Mr. Mim, a former militant, recalled his life when he was still a lawless group member.
“Noong nasa operasyon pa kami, ang nasa isip lang namin ay kamatayan palagi. Mahirap dahil wala kaming maayos na buhay. Ngayon, okay na dahil sa gobyerno,” Mr. Mim said.
He said the Bangsamoro Government’s assistance through Project TUGON will give them opportunity to become active members of the society.
“Malaking tulong ang assistance [na ito ng gobyerno] kasi makakasuporta iyon sa pamilya namin. Masaya rin ang training kasi may matatanggap kaming allowance at certificates na magagamit kung saan kami mag-a-apply.”
Mr. Mim was also hopeful that other members of the lawless group would be enlightened and will join the government in promoting peace in the region.
“Sa mga kasamahan ko noon, bumaba na sila habang may oras at panahon pa. Gusto kong sabihin sa kanila na bumalik na sila,” he said.
Meanwhile, LtCol. Palawan Miondas of 103rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army stressed that through this project, they are exerting their effort by tapping partner agencies to help them extend their programs to the former combatants.
“After your return to the fold of law, ito ang effort sa level ng 103rd infantry brigade na maghanap ng partners na makatulong sa inyo. Dapat isustain nagin at iyan ang isa sa mga effort na ginagawa namin,” Miondas said.
Since the Bangsamoro Government launched the Project TUGON, 132 surrenderers from Maguindanao, 56 from Lanao del Sur, and 53 from Sulu were already profiled and benefited from the project. (Majid Nur/BIO)