Aid packages ready for ex-MILF fighters, says senior DSWD official

September 10, 2019

Moro Islamic Liberation Front former combatants are seen in Darapanan, their main camp in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao in this picture taken June 12, 2019. (Mindanao Post)

KORONADAL CITY – Aid packages are ready for former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels that will be decommissioned this week in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao, a senior Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) official said Monday.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said on the day of decommissioning set on September 7 at the old Provincial Capitol in Simuay village, the government will provide the 7,163 ex-MILF combatants P80,000 cash as part of Bangsamoro Transitory Family Support Packages for food subsidy, family kit, hygiene kit, kitchen kit, sleeping kit, and shelter kit.

At the same time, Dir. Espejo said livelihood grants worth Php 20,000 will be given to the combatants. 

“They can use the money as seed capital for business or re-establishment of their damaged livelihood,” Dir. Espejo said.

“The normalization program specifically aims to transform them into productive members of society,” he added.

The aid packages are part of Normalization Track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) where 30 percent of the combatants and their weapons will be decommissioned this year. Thirty-five more percent will undergo the same process next year, while the remaining fighters will be decommissioned until 2022.

Under the CAB, the normalization phase will follow after the political track signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last year has been accomplished with the passage of the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law gave former MILF fighters control over many local government functions, including taxation and education, and it will allow Muslim Filipinos to incorporate Islamic law into their justice system. (DSWD-12) 

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