SKILLS, INCOME. A former combatant of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) shows the check from the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education-Technical Education and Skills Development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. At least 219 ex-MILF rebels graduated on Thursday (May 19, 2022) from a monthlong skills development training facilitated by the MBHTE-TESD. (Photo courtesy of MBHTE-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – At least 219 former Moro rebels who completed livelihood skills training received Thursday cash incentives from the education department of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In a statement, the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education-Technical Education and Skills Development (MBHTE-TESD) – BARMM said the beneficiaries are all decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants.

MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal said the subsidy is part of the MBHTE’s partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) to uplift the socio-economic status of MILF combatants under the Normalization Program.
Mohamad-Ali Diang, the MBHTE-TESD provincial normalization focal person, said that aside from free skills training, the program also includes financial assistance for decommissioned combatants to augment their income.

“Our beneficiaries received PHP160 allowance daily and this will depend on the number of days or duration of each course. We also gave them another PHP1,000 worth of financial assistance for their protective equipment during the month-long training,” he added.
Carpentry trainee Bainara Fermin, 52, who received a PHP7,560 incentive for the course, expressed her gratitude for being a beneficiary of the BARMM government’s skills training and financial assistance.
“We learned a lot of things and I did not expect that I have completed such skills training which can help our day-to-day work,” Fermin said. “Aside from teaching us for free, they also supported us by giving allowances which will help us a lot."
The ex-rebels were trained on organic fertilizer production, carpentry, dressmaking, bread and pastry production, and organic concoction and extracts, among others.

The MBHTE-BARMM said new sets of skills training schedules are being prepared for the succeeding batches of trainees. (PNA)