MILF community members thankful as relief comes to the village

May 8, 2020

MUNAI, Lanao del Norte -- As a response to the request of a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) community here, the Salam Agricultural Limited Partnership, Incorporated (Salam) provided 200 sacks of quality rice to the village at Sitio Kura-kura, Barangay Tamparan, this municipality.     Commissioner Abdullah “Bravo” Macapaar of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) stepped-up for the survival of his people by sending a request to Salam asking for any form of assistance as the whole country fights against the highly infectious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).     This was fulfilled with the coordination of a private power company and assistance of the army troops from the 2nd Mechanized Infantry “Magbalantay” Brigade under BGen. Facundo Palafox IV.     Neil Konrad Binayao III, external relations officer of Salam, shared that Salam management, together with partner companies in the area, mobilized resources in the form of rice which is the staple food of every Filipino family.     “Salam has an agri-business venture inside the MILF camp; Abaca and commercial treatment station but unfortunately, because of the quarantine measures, they have to declare work stoppage that contributed to the hardships of the people in Sitio Kura-kura,” Binayao explained.     Binayao said Salam support to provide sustainable development is the private sector’s contribution to the government’s peace efforts.     “The company believes that in order to have lasting peace in the area there has to be sustainable and equitable development. We believe that it’s a key component towards lasting peace,” Binayao added.     Though no one from the community is infected by COVID-19, Commissioner Macapaar admitted that the economic effects caused by the disease slowed down the development of the area as they comply with the guidelines of the government’s implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)  to protect the health of the villagers.     This includes infrastructure projects, road concreting projects, and the production of Abaca where the residents mostly rely on their livelihood.     Commissioner Macapaar extended his gratitude to the private sectors, local government units (LGU) and the national government for the attention they have given to MILF communities since the establishment of the BTA.     “Ang sabi ng Presidente natin, yung kampo (MILF Camp Bilal) palitan po natin ng community ng mga Muslim - ng mga combatant. Marami na ang mga nangyayari, yung mga armas ng ating mga combatant ay pinalitan ng cash, package ng PhilHealth, 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program), scholarship at iba pang mga livelihood. Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa ating Presidente,” Commissioner Macapaar expressed.     [The President said that he will turn my camp (MILF Camp Bilal) into a Muslim community - a community for the combatants. A lot has been happening since then, the combatants’ firearms was surrendered in exchange for cash, PhilHealth package, 4Ps (Pantawin Pamilyang Pilipino Program), scholarships, and other livelihood programs. I am thankful to our President.]     Commissioner Macapaar said that this is the fourth time the community received aid since the outbreak of the pandemic begun.     The leader appreciated the efforts being harnessed just to push through helping them especially now that the whole Sitio celebrates the holy month of Ramadhan.     “Alhamdulillah! Maganda ang relasyon namin sa tropa ng militar at sa lokal na pamahalaan dito. Ang sasabihin ko lang sa kapwa ko Muslim, hanggang hindi po matapos ang May 15, sana po ay manatili po tayo sa bahay kase yun ang unang gamot sa lumaganap na sakit, magbasa lang po tayo nag Qur’an,” Commissioner Macapaar relayed.     [Alhamdulillah! So far, our relationship with the military and the government has been very cordial. My message to my fellow Muslims, until May 15, let’s remain inside our homes because it is the number one prevention against COVID-19, and let us read the Qur’an.] (CLV / PIA ICIC)

A spoonful of support

May 8, 2020

MARAWI CITY -- It was a warm summer day. While most people looked for other ways to spend their time at home, members of My Deen Food Catering endured the heat in the kitchen to diligently prepare hearty packed meals.     The packed meals were ordered by Save the Children Foundation and will be donated to frontliners in Marawi City and other areas of Lanao del Sur.      Abdul Mahayman Modaalay, chairperson of the catering service cooperative, did not hesitate in accommodating the bulk order. After all, he was already used to cooking and serving those who are in need.        Abdul’s passion for cooking started with his love for kapagana, a native Maranao’s practice of offering different food to the guests. On almost every occasion, he cooked a lot of food “to share happiness with everybody.” Abdul believed that food is what brings the family to gather together.     On normal occasions, he catered food for family occasions and did a few orders from his relatives and friends. When the Marawi siege happened, Abdul and his colleagues in the catering service decided to reach out and served a lot of internally displaced persons (IDPs). However, they humbly admitted to having only helped a limited number of IDPs because of the shortage of equipment.      Still, it did not stop them from their passion for cooking and serving other people. The catering service improved when the cooperative received cooking and catering equipment from DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) for the Bangon Marawi project.     “The SSF from DTI helps us make our business more efficient.” Abdul shared. “We can hold a large scale of people gathering with the help of the facilities shared to us from DTI.”     On March 21 and 23, My Deen Food Catering delivered 300 packed meals to the foundation. They are expected to provide 300 more packed meals in the coming weeks.      “We are delighted that we had a little share in serving them [frontliners] the best food in our home that . . . somehow can give strength to the hard situation that we are currently facing.” Abdul expressed. “Thank you very much [to the frontliners] for the job you did to help our fellow citizens. You deserve to be heroes of our country.” (DTI-10/PIA ICIC)

Army rescues Lanao Sur studes stranded in Marawi

April 27, 2020

ILIGAN CITY ----- Some 251 students of Mindanao State University (MSU) Main Campus in Marawi City were rescued by the Philippine Army on Friday (April 24) and transported to their respective home in Lanao del Sur. These students were stranded at their dormitories inside the university campus when the enhanced community quarantine was implemented in the province on March 17 and then extended to April 30. Military trucks of the 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB), 55th IB, 49th IB and the 12th Civil Military Operations Battalion, all under 103rd Infantry “Haribon” Brigade, were deployed to ferry the students back to their homes in 25 municipalities of Lanao del Sur. The transport of the students back home was carried out in collaboration with the Lanao del Sur Inter-Agency Task Force (LDS - IATF) for the Management of COVID-19, the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur, the university management and the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade. Lt. Charles Leiand Regala, Civil-Military Operations Officer of 82nd IB, said there are still some 654 remaining stranded students in MSU who will be transported outside Lanao del Sur in the coming days. “The authorities have already coordinated with the adjacent provinces to finalize the arrangements and requirements for the next transportation assistance,” said Regala. The university recently sent off some of its stranded students to Maguindanao and Zamboanga del Norte. MSU deployed its university buses to assist the transport of the students. Meanwhile, the army continues to provide manpower and security assistance during the relief distribution of the Lanao del Sur provincial government.

Kapatagan taps reservists for relief distribution

April 24, 2020

KAPATAGAN, LANAO DEL SUR ----- The local government unit (LGU) of Kapatagan municipality is mobilizing some 235 reservists of the 1006th Community Defense Center (CDC), 10th Regional Community Defense Group (RCDG) as manpower for relief distribution and implementation of the enhanced community quarantine imposed by the provincial government of Lanao del Sur. Kapatagan Mayor Raidah Maglangit said the reservist in the town, including herself, being designated as commander of Charlie Company of 1006th Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion based in Kapatagan municipality, have been the LGU’s partners in its response since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.  “When we trained reservist in 2018, we did not think that there would be crisis like this. It just happened that we thought of preparing for calamities so that it would not be difficult for us to do the response and relief operations,” Maglangit said. Despite the reservists initially lacking training to health crisis response like the COVID-19, they have subsequently been trained to respond to calamities, thus enabling the LGU to mobilize them. “The reservists are big help especially in filling up our lack of policemen. The Philippine Marines Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 (MBLT5) also have bigger areas to serve so we cannot really depend on them when it comes to relief operations,” she added.  Several LGU employees have been trained as reservists who underwent training in 2018 upon Manglangit’s  encouragement. “I encouraged them to join so that we will all be together as one in our response and relief operations,” the mayor said.  In April 23, LGU Kapatagan completed its first round of food relief distribution to its 15 barangays with 5,380 households (based on 2017 census). The distributed food packs contained five kilos of rice, five sardines, sugar and coffee.  In the second round of distribution of food packs next week, the LGU is preparing another five kilos of rice, noodles, coffee and sugar and canned goods will be replaced with dried fish.  As of April 23, Kapatagan town has four persons being monitored for COVID-19 after having been travelled from areas outside the municipality.

Three years after the Marawi siege, army, cops now becoming businessmen

April 1, 2020

ILIGAN CITY ----- After defeating the terrorists three years ago in Marawi City, soldiers and cops went around the province bringing essentials for the people to survive while fighting another enemy they cannot see. On Monday (March 30) soldiers of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade and cops of Lanao del Sur started going around every town with somebody from the local government unit (LGU) making announcement using megaphone. In groups, they were on board army and police vehicle, loaded not with guns and bullets but grocery items, not to be given for free but for sale. "We became 'secutindero' (coined for security and 'tindero' or salesman)," said Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of the 103rd Brigade. "This is our way of helping the people in our areas of operation. We have not yet stood up from the siege and here we are, fighting again (againts the virus)," Cuerpo added. The frontliners during Marawi siege in 2017 are now selling goods to residents through rolling stores. Cuerpo said this is the army and the police way of helping residents around Lake Lanao to have easy access to buy their necessities because they are having hard time to go to Marawi City where their main market is. The whole province is on an enhanced community quarantine since March 19 that would make residents difficult to travel especially if they don't have own vehicle. The provincial government of Lanao del Sur, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Lanao Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea of rolling stores to avoid the tendency of over pricing in temporary markets (talipapa). The three agencies joint together in pooling the grocery items to be sold based on the DTI prices. These items include rice, sardines, noodles and coffee. Using the army and police vehicles, the men in uniform provide manpower and security. Three groups from the police and another three from army will bring the rolling store to three to four municipalities from 7am to 6pm. Col. Madzgani Mukaram, chief of Lanao del Sur police, said it is satisfying to help the people in times like this fighting the unseen enemies. "Sa ganitong klaseng giyera, kung hindi mag-cooperate ang publiko, kung hindi natin sila tutulungan, hindi lang ang mga sibilyan ang talo sa giyera laban sa COVID-19 kundi pati rin kaming mga pulis at mga sundalo na nasa frontline," Mukaram said. (In this kind of war, if the public will not cooperate, if we will not help them, it is not only the civilians who may loss in the battle against COVID-19 but also us, police and army who are in the frontline.) Mukaram said cops who went around with the rolling stores will also comply their duty at the checkpoints. "It is tiring but we are happy to serve. It's fulfilling serving the people," Mukaram said.

Members of armed group surrender to 7th IB in North Cotabato

March 31, 2020

  CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Three (3) members of armed lawless group (ALG)  have surrendered to 7th Infantry Battalion of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) yesterday (March 27) at Brgy. Ladtingan, Pikit, North Cotabato They were identified as Bhots Oledal, Ebra Kamedon, and Saude Montawal from Sitio Tatak, Brgy. Dalgan, Pagalungan, Maguindao. The three also surrendered their one 5.56mm Ultimax rifle with magazine and five (5) ammunition and one (1) homemade M79 grenade launcher. In a simple ceremony, 7th IB Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Romel Valencia presented the three (3) members of ALG to Pagalungan Mayor Salik Mamasabulod. The local government of Pagalungan had pledged cash assistance to the 3 government returnees that will help them start their new lives peacefully without the need to fight the government troops. JTFC Commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon lauded the efforts of 7th IB troops as more rebels were convinced to surrender to the government through their intelligence operations as well as with the help of the former rebels who previously surrendered to the unit. “6ID continued to fight for peace while also supporting the fight against COVID-19”, said JTFC Commander.


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