SAGUIARAN, Lanao del Sur, May 12– Amidst coronavirus disease (COVID-19), 26 former members of the Dawlah Islamiyah – Maute Group (DI-MG) received assistance on Monday at the Municipal Hall of Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
The Ministry of Social Services and Development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MSSD-BARMM) in collaboration with local government unit (LGU) of Piagapo and the 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) distributed one sack (25 kilos) of rice to the former rebels (FRs) in the municipality of Piagapo as part of the continuous efforts of the government in aiding the community in fighting and surviving COVID-19.
Troops of Charlie Company of 82IB led by its company commander, 1LT Chris Anthony T. Cayaba facilitated the travel and attendance of the FRs during the distribution of the food assistance.
In his message, vice-mayor Ali L. Sumandar assured his constituents that in trying times like these the government will help the people and no one will be left behind, not even FRs.
It can be recalled that after the liberation of Marawi City from the hands of the ‘ISIS-inspired’ violent extremists, the government offered its doors to those who wanted to return to the folds of the law and be re-integrated in the mainstream society.
Sumandar assisted in numerous negotiations and peace dialogues that resulted in the voluntary surrender of some active and lie-low members of the DI-MG in his municipality.
Meanwhile, LtCol. Rafman S. Altre, commanding officer of 82nd IB called on the remaining active and lie-low members of the DI-MG and also of the Communist Terrorist Group in the area to lay down their arms and accept the peace offered by the government in furtherance to ending the local armed conflict in the province.
“The government is serious in giving you a chance to live peaceful and normal lives once again, just like these former rebels who are now enjoying the different programs of the government in the comfort of their homes and their families, "said LtCol Altre.
Months ago, different agencies of the government including non-government organizations in and out of Lanao del Sur offered psycho-social interventions, livelihood trainings and livelihood assistance to the FRs and their families as part of their rehabilitation and reintegration to the mainstream society.
“While our troops are focus on assisting the different frontliners against COVID-19, there is no let-up on our security and efforts in tracking down the remnants of the Local Terrorist Groups in our area, "LtCol. Altre added. (82IB/PIA ICIC)