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Defense chief witnesses dispersal of aid to ex-Moro rebels

Mindanao Peace Process • 05:45 AM Fri Oct 13, 2023
Edwin O. Fernandez/6th ID news release
Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro inspects a rifle turned over by former Moro violent extremists during a visit in Buluan, Maguindnao del Sur.  (6th ID photo)

COTABATO CITY -- Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro on Wednesday witnessed the turnover of livelihood assistance to former Moro violent extremists at the Maguindanao del Sur provincial capitol in Buluan town.

At least 50 former members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Dawlah Islamiyah terrorist group members were presented to Sec. Teodoro by Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu.

Teodoro lauded the joint efforts of the local government unit and the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in pushing for giving the former extremists a conducive environment for reform and reintegration to the mainstream.

“This is a shining example of a successful local peace process that other local governments could emulate,” he said as he credited Mangudadatu, AFP and PNP for the strong partnership.

"Without it, such initiatives would not succeed, as they rely on the trust of the people and the provision of sustainable livelihood opportunities," Teodoro added.

He reassured the public that, through the AFP, the safety of those who have returned to the government's fold will be protected.

Teodoro also assured measures would be taken to prevent harassment and “rido” (clan war), thereby safeguarding individuals from becoming victims of clan wars and other family feuds, as these conflicts are deemed unlawful.

The former extremists received livelihood support that includes essential resources such as farm machinery, seeds, fertilizers, and various inputs to help them embark on agricultural ventures.

"The Army’s 6th Infantry Division has been working hand-in-hand with the local government units in our joint area of operations to implement a mechanism that will provide a comprehensive, inclusive, enduring, and culturally sensitive program to address violent extremism for lasting peace, security, and development," said Major General Alex S. Rillera, commander of 6th ID and Joint Task Force Central.


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