Isabela City, Basilan (November 7, 2018) – As part of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) intensified peace-building efforts to combat terrorism, the regional government will provide free skills training to a total of 52 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) returnees.
The skills training is part of the reintegration program dubbed Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE), which received a budget of P20 million, through ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, for its implementation.
On November 7, the returnees took their oath during the training induction program facilitated by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. Training courses include bread- and pastry-making, welding, carpentry, and dressmaking. They will also receive competency assessments, tool kits and food for the whole duration of the training.
John Louie Balagot, ARMM Regional Cabinet Secretary and PAVE Program Manager said the initiative is the regional government’s first model program that provides various interventions to former ASG members. PAVE will also cover assistance to other returnees from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
It is designed to provide opportunities to ASG members who surrendered and returned to the fold of law to become productive members of society. Speaking to the returnees, Sec. Balagot said: “Napatunayan natin na kaya nating magkasundo at hindi imposible ang maging masaya. Bilang kasapi ng pamahalaan, responsibilidad namin na pakinggan at tugunan ang pangangailangan ng bawat isa.”
“Hahanapan namin ng paraan kung paano kami patuloy na makakatulong sa inyo. Seryoso ang regional government na makamit ang kapayapaan dito sa Basilan,” Sec. Balagot added. He explained that those who will receive the skills training are not just the ASG returnees but also would include their daughters, or wives.
“The PAVE is not just for the ASG returnees. We are also doing engagements with the affected communities especially the youth and women because the regional government acknowledged their vital role in preventing terrorism,” he noted. Official data showed that there are 272 returnees in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
A daughter of a returnee, Hapsa Adja who will take bread and pastry course said: “Sa gaya ko po na high school lang ang tinapos masaya po ako na mabibigyan ako ng ganitong klaseng training dahil makakatulong po ito sa amin ng pamilya ko.” As Hapsa shared her story, she said that seeing his father after many years is one of the greatest thing that happened in her family.
“Masaya po ako dahil tinanggap po nila ang tatay ko at magkakasama na rin po kami. Kaya malaking pasasalamat po namin dahil binigyan po ang tatay ko ng chance na magbago at magkakaroon na rin po kami ng normal na pamumuhay,” Hapsa said adding that after the skills training she will immediately apply for work to help her family.
Aside from the free skills training, the returnees will receive housing and food under ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development with Growth and Equity, Alternative Learning System classes under ARMM’s Education department, farm seedlings under ARMM’s Agriculture department, techno training on chili production under the Department of Science and Technology, and membership to cooperatives under the Cooperative Development Authority.
In the transition to the new Bangsamoro government, Sec. Balagot said the ARMM’s reintegration program is recognized by the National Peace and Order Council and the regional government is hopeful that it will be officially part of the national government’s reintegration efforts through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which is aimed at achieving permanent and peaceful closure for all armed conflicts.
SOURCE: (Bureau of Public Information)
November 08, 2018 @ 14:00