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OPAPRU brings transformation program to MNLF in Lanao Sur

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)-- Fulfilling the vision laid for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members, their families, and communities under the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) rolled out the transformation program in Lanao del Sur, where some MILF fighters reside currently.

Kicking off the initiative, an initial batch of 444 combatants underwent verification of firearms and socio-economic profiling, which ran for two weeks from November 6 to 15, this year. This is a collaborative effort of various stakeholders such as the 103rd Infantry Brigade, Lanao del Sur Police Provincial Office (LDSPPO), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-10, Mindanao State University (MSU)-Main Campus, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-Marawi City, Bangsamoro government, and the local governments of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.

During this process, the beneficiaries also enjoyed different forms of assistance, including livelihood cash aid amounting to P45,000 each, registration and enrollment in the national identification system, and the distribution of sacks of rice.

OPAPRU MNLF Peace Process Office Director Jana Jill Gallardo explained that they took this initiative to transform the targeted population from an armed group into socio-economically resilient individuals.

“Ito ay naglalayon na tulungan ang ating mga MNLF combatants na mabigyan sila, ang kanilang mga pamilya at komunidad ng maayos na pamumuhay, at umunlad bilang peace and development communities [This aims to help our MNLF combatants, their families, and communities be given a proper living and improve as peace and development communities],” she said.

A staff member of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-10 facilitated the payout of cash assistance worth P45,000 to a combatant of the Moro National Liberation Front in Lanao del Sur province. This aid is intended to help in easing the livelihood of the beneficiaries as part of the aims outlined under the MNLF Transformation Program. (Photo: CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

Gallardo recalled that the transformation program was established in 2019, and its guidelines, particularly focusing on security and socio-economic aspects, were signed in 2021.

From then on, she detailed that relevant components came in, like the documentation of firearms, community healing, reconciliation, and confidence-building, which would address the concerns about the legal identity of the MNLF members and their transition into being an empowered group.

Gallardo emphasized that ever since they have ensured that they will pursue informed decisions, every move should be tailored to the necessities of the beneficiaries.

She stated that the data they collected and collated from their socio-economic profiling would be utilized in crafting plans to realize the aspirations of the beneficiaries.

Gallardo was delighted with the warm reception and cooperation they received after introducing the transformation program to the province.

“Ang activities na ginagawa natin every day, kung wala ang mga leader sa MNLF and ang kanilang mga combatant, ay hindi ito magiging successful [The activities we do every day, if it had not been for the leaders of the MNLF and their combatants, would not be successful],” she said.

The OPAPRU announced that another batch of MNLF members in Lanao del Sur province will be catered to cover all qualified beneficiaries in the transformation program. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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Claire Gigje

Information Officer I

Region 10

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