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Widows of MILF fighters get livelihood aid from BARMM

BANGSAMORO NEWS UPDATES • 11:30 AM Fri Sep 15, 2023
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Edwin O. Fernandez and Abdullah Matucan/BIO
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM interior minister, leads the distribution of financial and livelihood aid to about 200 Widows of War in Carmen, North Cotabato on Thursday. (MILG photo)

CARMEN, North Cotabato – About 200 Widows of Moro fighters who offered their lives in pursuit of the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination were honored by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) by providing them livelihood and financial opportunities on Thursday.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, minister of the interior and local government, led the distribution of P50,000 financial aid and livelihood assistance for widows from Midsayap and Carmen cluster of the Special Geographic Area (SGA).

SGA is composed of 63 Muslim-dominated villages in North Cotabato that are now part of BARMM.

The payout was held at the government center in Barangay Manarapan, Carmen.

"The Bangsamoro Government cannot replace the lives of our former comrades in the Bangsamoro struggle," Sinarimbo said in the vernacular as the Widows of War or Muhajidden (freedom fighters) widows listened attentively.

"However, this assistance from the Government of BARMM with the help of the BIRD [Bangsamoro Integrated Rehabilitation and Development] Program is expected to help the livelihood of the mujahideen widows," he added.

Sinarimbo emphasized the importance of meeting the immediate needs of these war widows while also providing long-term sustainable development programs for them.

He explained that the goal is to transform them through capacity building, rural infrastructure development, and livelihood opportunities.

Basically, the purpose is to raise the standard of living of Mujahidden widows.

The interior minister and BARMM spokesperson said there are plans to organize them as a cooperative to help their livelihoods even further.

He said the ongoing construction of the public market near them will also allow the widows to establish sustainable livelihoods to support their families, paving the way for them and their communities to have a brighter and more stable future.

Zokria Abas, a resident of the SGA-Carmen Cluster and one of the beneficiaries, expressed her gratitude as a recipient of the assistance.

“The Bangsamoro Government is aware of our struggles. This is only the beginning of the many more help we were promised,” she said.

In a separate interview, a mother of four children was only 37 when her husband, a freedom fighter, died in a clash with the military while defending the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camp in Buliok, Pikit, North Cotabato in 2003.

"It’s hard to lose a husband while you have four young children)," Abas shared in an exclusive interview during the event.

Initially, Abas struggled to raise her kids as solo parent but she said hard work paid off. The aid from BARMM will give her the opportunity to further improve her family’s income. 

                       

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