SPECIAL GEOGRAPHIC AREA—Two hundred women who lost their spouses in different battlefields during the heights of the Bangsamoro arm struggle received P50,000 financial assistance on Thursday, September 14.
The women beneficiaries, hailing from different barangays in Carmen and Kabacan clusters of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (BARMM) Special Geographic Area (SGA), personally received the aid in cash from the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), in a payout held at the government center in Barangay Manarapan, Carmen.
MILG Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, who just recently returned in the country from an official business trip, graced the event and explained that the assistance is an expression of recognition for the family of shahid (martyr) who lost their lives during the arm struggle.
Speaking in Maguindanaon vernacular, Sinarimbo explained that those who perished during the war had greatly contributed in the assertion of the Bangsamoro cause.
“The assistance you (widows) receive is a form of BARMM expression of gratitude to the family who lost their loved ones during the arm struggle,” Sinarimbo said.
The island of Mindanao particularly the BARMM region has a long history of resistance as its inhabitants, collectively known as Bangsamoro, assert their rights to self-determination.
In United Nation’s declaration on decolonization states, it explicitly says “All peoples have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development”.
This right, along with their other constitutional rights, clearly outlined the legitimate cause of the Bangsamoro constituents to determine what’s best for themselves.
In pursuit of this legitimate cause and desire to govern themselves, the Bangsamoro people, represented by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), sat in a peace negotiation table with the Government of the Philippines (GPH) which led to the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014 and eventually passing into law of the Republic Act 11054 which borne the BARMM.
Zukria Abas, a mother of four children was only 37 when her husband died in firefight between the military and the MILF at the Buliok complex in Pikit town in 2014.
“Hindi madali na mamatayan ng asawa na may apat kang anak,” Abas shared in an exclusive interview during the event.
Initially, she struggled to raise her four kids considering that her husband was then providing for their family, but eventually, with the help of family members, she mastered the art of being a solo parent.
“Ngayon po yung panganay ko ay nakapagtapos na din ng pag-aaral at nagtatrabaho na din,” she added.
The Bangsamoro Government recognized that governance in the SGA was affected following the villages’ inclusion to BARMM through a plebiscite in 2019. However, the regional government ensured that basic government services continue.
“Sa matagal na panahon, ngayon lang kami nagkaroon ng maraming proyekto kaya maraming salamat sa pamunuan ng BARMM,” said Captain Ingco Dalid of Manarapan who also heads the Carmen cluster.
He said that his village received various infrastructure projects from BARMM which included a village hall, health station, public market, and road concreting.
With 6,000 estimated population, Ingco said that these projects have been instrumental in providing ease to his constituents.
“Nasa 70% ng constituents namin ay mga farmers kaya malaking tulong ang mga project dito ng BARMM lalo na yung road concreting,” he added.
The story of the widows of war and other collective narratives of the Bangsamoro people are vital elements to further tighten the commitment of the regional government to sustain the gains of peace process. Hence, Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim in his 12-point priority agenda included peace building interventions and support to strategic infrastructures to spur economic growth in the region. (Abdullah Matucan/BIO)