SULU – Officials of the Ministry of Public Order and Safety’s (MPOS) regional office went to Maimbung Municipality of this province on Feb. 18 to hold a dialogue with some Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) returnees to determine the type of assistance they need in sustaining their livelihood.
“Nandito kami para magkamustahan tayo at mag-usap-usap nang sa gayon ay mapakinggan namin ang mga concerns ninyo,” said MPOS Director-General Atty. Al-Rashid Balt.
“Hindi namin maipapangako na maibibigay namin ang lahat ng mga hinihiling ninyo pero kahit paano ay matulungan naming kayo,” he added.
On the other hand, MPOS Peace Program Officer Sittie Janine Gamao emphasized that the dialogue can help the ministry specifically identify the assistance they can provide to the returnees.
“(Nagsisimula) kami sa dialogue. Kailangan naming tanungin ang mga sector kung kumusta sila at kung ano talaga ang kanilang saloobin. Hindi namin pwedeng bigyan kayong lahat ng bangka dahil hindi lahat kayo (ay) mangingisda,” Gamao said.
“Sa susunod po na pagkikita natin ay doon na po namin maibibigay sa inyo ang mga kahilingan ninyo,” she added.
During the activity, MPOS also provided P3,000 cash assistance to 15 ASG returnees.
Meanwhile, during its induction ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 19, the Lupah Sug Women Widows Association, comprising of ASG widows in Sulu, was given P28,000 financial assistance by MPOS. The fund will be utilized for the acquisition of two sewing machines to be used by the association’s members.
On the activity, the ASG widows presented an update on the assistance the MPOS has initially provided them. Some invested the cash aid in seaweed farming, building a tutorial center, sari-sari store and others.
The ASG widows are hopeful that more widows like them will also become beneficiaries of the ministry’s programs. (Alline Jamar Undikan/BIO)