TESDA allots P275M to capacitate decommissioned MILF fighters

THE REGION
September 7, 2019

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COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 07 September) -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has allotted P275 million to help transform former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MIF) become productive members of mainstream society.

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña revealed the amount shortly after the signing of a memorandum of agreement between his agency and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Friday.

“We have programmed the amount of P275 million for the entire BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)…. An initial group of former MILF combatants will be trained as trainors,” he said in an interview.

BARMM is composed of the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, the cities of Marawi, Lamitan and Cotabato and 63 villages in North Cotabato.

The OPAPP and the BARMM government will jointly conduct a study to identify the trainings that will be given to the ex-MILF fighters, he said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the partnership with TESDA will undertake initiatives in line with the normalization aspect of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Duterte administration’s peace and development agenda.

 Under the MOA, OPAPP and TESDA shall adopt conflict-sensitive and peace promoting approaches in Bangsamoro communities and assist the decommissioned members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the MILF’s armed wing, transition into civilian lives and facilitate the transformation of six MILF camps into peaceful and productive communities through skills training and development.

“These interventions aim to assist the MILF-BIAF members in making the smooth transition to peaceful and productive civilian life,” Galvez said.

He noted their initiatives are anchored on the normalization track of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

Under the CAB, the parties agreed for the decommissioning of MILF combatants, which is part of the normalization phase, as key milestones of the peace agreement are achieved.

Lapeña stressed that TESDA is committed to provide the decommissioned MILF combatants with appropriate skills that will enable them to pursue a sustainable livelihood.

  
"The TESDA is committed in providing training assistance para iyong ating mga kapatid, in this transformation process, ay magkaroon ng mas magandang oportunidad sa buhay," Lapeña added.
 

CAPTION:

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña and OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. (4th and 5th from left, respectively) sign the MOA on the Socio-economic Assistance for the Decommissioned Combatants under the Normalization phase of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. (Bong S. Sarmiento)


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