121 ex-MILF rebels now equip with skills to start normal lives

More former Moro rebels who were decommissioned are now skilled to earn decent income after getting their national competency certificate Wednesday from Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) education ministry.

In a statement, Minister Mohaqher Iqbal of the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education’s Technical Education and Skills Development (MBHTE-TESD), said the former rebels are now earning a decent income to provide their families basic needs.

The 121 former combatants belonged to the first batch of decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) who are added to the roster of various livelihood skills training graduates conducted by the region’s education ministry.

“These former rebels who have been reintegrated into the mainstream as provided for in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) received their certificates during the graduation ceremony for completing courses on cookery and pastry-making,” Iqbal said.

Abdullah Nuh Salisit, 59, of Barangay Tuka, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao, and one of the 121 former rebels, said he and his family will start a small business as an added source of income.

Salisit said he can now send his children to formal education with his expected new revenue from his upcoming pastry-making business.

MBHTE conducted the training at Simuay, Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao in collaboration with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU), the Ittihadun Nisa Foundation, and Darussalam Institute of Technology.

The month-long training was implemented under the normalization program or Executive Order No. 79 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Aside from ex-MILF combatants, also trained were their family members.

“It may not be as big as others think, but at least this is decent, and our skills will help us rejoin the mainstream,” Salisit said in the vernacular. “From guns to pastry business, this is good, I am happy.”

Meanwhile, Engr. Ruby Andong, the MBHTE-TESD director-general, said she strongly believes in the capability of the former combatants to start normal lives anew.

“Given the chance, they will excel as it is now, they can effectively manage their own business and sources of income,” she said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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