MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–Former rebels, especially from the municipalities of Piagapo and Butig all in the province of Lanao del Sur, were elated to receive the continuous assistance of the government amid their return to mainstream society.
They were recently provided with another set of aid through the Project Tulong ng Gobyernong Nagmamalasakit (TuGoN) of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) wherein as a P5,000-cash grant, 50-kilo sacks of rice and grocery packs were distributed after they were oriented with the Agriculture Crop Production Training then can avail of.
Alias Sam, a returnee from Piagapo town, expressed that they were delighted because their family could benefit as well from whatever would be handed over to them.
“Natutuwa kami, lalo na ang pamilya namin kasi binigyan kami ng gobyerno na kahit makakaraos kami…Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang tulong niyo sa amin. [Ang training ay nakakatulong din] para matuto kaming maghanapbuhay,” he said.
[We are happy, especially our family because the government has given us something for our survival…Their help is continuing. [The training is also helpful] for us to learn to have our livelihood.]
Another surrenderee Alias Mr. Mim from Butig town was also grateful to the government for pursuing Project TuGoN which they benefit much.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa gobyerno dahil ito ay masayang project. Malaking tulong ang assistance kasi makakasuporta iyon sa pamilya namin. Masaya rin ang training kasi may matatanggap kami na allowance at certificate na magagamit kung saan kami mag-aapply,” he said.
[We are thankful to the government because of this wonderful project. Their assistance is a big help because this can support our family. We are also happy with the training because we can receive an allowance and certificate that can be used wherever we apply [for a job].”
Highlighting the advantages they gain since their decision to yield to authorities, former rebels likewise urged their previous comrades to settle with the same conclusion so that they can be assisted and get back to the life they left behind for their wrong ideologies.
Alias Kanakan, a former combatant from Butig town and recognized as the leader of the group of former rebels in the whole Lanao del Sur province, conveyed the significant difference in their lives when they were still operating against the government and now that they have already surrendered.
He stated that if their brothers could just reflect on the struggles and sacrifices they have to suffer for unjustly opposing the government, they would accordingly realize that it only takes one good option to be brought back to their once strife-free lives.
“Gusto rin namin na ang mga kasama naming hindi pa bumbaba ay bumaba na para matulungan din sila ng gobyerno. Kaming mga nagbalik-loob ay namumuhay na nang mapayapa at hindi na natatakot sa gobyerno kasi nakikipagkaibigan din sila sa amin. Natatakot kami sa mga checkpoint noon pero ngayon, hindi na kami natatakot at inentertain pa kami. Maraming salamat talaga sa tropa ng gobyerno, lalo na sa 103rd Infantry Brigade,” said alias Kanakan.
[We also want our comrades who did not surrender yet to surrender already so that the government can help them. We, who have surrendered, are now living peacefully and not afraid anymore of the government because they are also being friendly towards us. Before, we were used to being afraid of the checkpoints but now, we are not and they [those in the checkpoint] even entertain us. We are really thankful to the troops of the government, especially the 103rd Infantry Brigade.] (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)