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22 ex-BIFF get aid, business counseling for stable future

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 11:45 AM Wed Sep 13, 2023
Edwin O. Fernandez

COTABATO CITY  – Two leading ministries in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have jointly extended aid to former Moro extremists as part of their mainstreaming on Wednesday.

The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), the Ministry of Trade, Investment, and Tourism (MTIT) Maguindanao office, jointly profiled, evaluated and offered business counseling to 22 former members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Sept. 12 at the headquarters of 34th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Salunayan, Midsayap, North Cotabato. 

MILG and MTIT, along with BARMM’s partners – the Army’s 34th IB and 90th Infantry Battalion, offered the BARMM’s Project TuGoN (Tulong Ng Gobyernong Nagmamalasakit) for former Moro extremists who surrendered to the government in the hope of reforming their lives for good.

These former combatants were supported by the 602nd Infantry Brigade's 34th and 90th Infantry Battalions, and they received business counseling to help them develop entrepreneurial skills and establish sustainable livelihoods, paving the way for these individuals and their communities to have a brighter and more stable future.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, MILG minister, said the goal was to help them start a business that is both profitable and long-term sustainable.

Participating in the activity with their families, the former rebels demonstrated that they understand how crucial family support is to success.

He said, families can help the business succeed in the long run by sharing duties, offering emotional support, and contributing financially.

As families and former combatants cooperate to achieve a common objective, this can also help to improve community social cohesion, according to Sinarimbo.

The entrepreneurship training and livelihood assistance program of Project TuGoN is more than just an initiative; it represents a significant step toward the reintegration and empowerment of former combatants in Maguindanao del Sur and the Special Geographic Area.

Program officers from the MTIT facilitated the training sessions. Their experience gave them useful knowledge and insights on a range of entrepreneurship-related subjects.

Lawyer Marvin D Mokamad, MILG Interior Affairs Services director, has shown how committed the BARMM government is to assisting ex-combatants in re-entering society and creating better futures for themselves and their families.

"You can't change the past, but you can shape the future," Mokamad said.

“Take advantage of the opportunities that the government provides. We are committed to assisting you throughout your journey, providing guidance and support as you work to create a sustainable and prosperous future for your family," he added.

The activity was attended by MTIT-Maguindanao Provincial Director Romeo Diocolano, Lt. Colonel Rey C Rico, 34th Infantry Battalion commander, Mr. Abdulbasit R Benito, MOH monitoring and evaluation officer, Chief Shiela Joy M Mangco of MTIT-Maguindanao, Jaber B Macacua, Project TuGoN MILG Program Manager, and other AFP officers and enlisted personnel. 

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