ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Task Force on Ending Local Armed Conflict (BTF-ELAC) has extended financial assistance to help transform 53 Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) surrenderers into productive citizens.
For starters, each former ASG combatant received an initial cash assistance of PHP5,000, grocery items, and two sacks of rice.
In a statement on Saturday, Marvin Mokamad, Internal Affairs Service chief of BARMM’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, said the BTF-ELAC, through Project TUGON (Tulong ng Gobyernong Nagmamalasakit), is leading the ex-fighters to normalization.
“We also conducted profiling in order to determine the kind of livelihood assistance we can provide to them,” Mokamad said.
The former combatants will then undergo training.
“We will ensure that no ASG combatants will be left behind," he said.
Brig. Gen. Antonio Bautista Jr., assistant commander of the 11th Infantry Division, thanked the BTF-ELAC for the support program.
“You can be assured that your security forces here in Sulu will continue to collaborate and partner with you for the implementation of projects and programs that will capacitate and empower the former ASG members (to) improve their living conditions," Bautista said in another statement.
He reiterated his call for the remaining ASG bandits to “go back to the fold of the law while they still have the chance and take the arm of peace.”