271 Sulu ASG returnees avail social integration benefits

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October 8, 2020, Camp Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – The Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) distributes financial assistance to Abu Sayyaf returnees at Headquarters, Joint Task Force Sulu.

Heeding to the Localized Social Integration Program (LSIP) of Joint Task Force Sulu, at 2:00 o’clock PM today, the Minister of MSSD, BARMM, Atty Raisa Jajurie, extended financial assistance in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Pesos (Php 15, 000.00) to the 144 qualified ASG returnees of Sulu. The cash assistance is a seed money intended for the livelihood projects of the surrenderees such as farming, fishing, aquaculture, poultry, and livestock raising. Also present during the activity to extend their organization’s services are WESTMINCOM Commander Lt Gen Corleto Vinluan Jr, JTF Sulu Commander BGen William Gonzales, Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) Representative Mr Ariel Hernandez, United Nation Development Program (UNDP) Representative Mr Chetan Kumar, and Balay Mindanao Foundation Inc (BMFI) Representative Mr Richard Rejas.

The LSIP is a joint program of Sulu LGU and JTF Sulu through its Provincial and Municipal Task Force ELAC. It encompasses three stages: RETURN, REFORM, and REINTEGRATE. The first stage is the formal surrender of the ASG to the military, police, or LGU where he will be undergoing medical check-up and profiling; the second is the reformation stage where he will undertake psychosocial intervention, non-formal education and trainings, and introduction to livelihood opportunities; and the third stage is the integration process where he will be granted with a livelihood assistance, enrolment to housing programs, and an active partner in advocating peace initiatives.

The activity started with a coordinating conference in the morning where BGen Gonzales presented the programs of JTF Sulu such as the Balik Barangay Program in Patikul, MNLF Key Leaders Engagement in 1st and 2nd Districts of Sulu, and the Social Integration Program for the ASG returnees. It was a productive session leading to the convergence of programs of the AFP, OPAPP, MSSD, UNDP, BMFI, and Sulu LGU towards one common goal – peace and development of Sulu.

Later in the afternoon, the group visited Brgy Tugas of Patikul to personally witness the development projects of LGU Patikul, 1102nd Brigade and 45th IB. Tugas was formerly an abandoned barangay as a result of conflict, however, with the Balik Barangay Program implemented by Patikul Mayor Kabir Hayudini and 1102nd Brigade Commander BGen Ignatius Patrimonio, the internally displaced persons (IDP) of Tugas were safely and successfully returned by 45th IB Commander Ltc Ruben Guinolbay. “I have personally seen today the plight of the people of Tugas, I give my assurance that all of your pleas will be conveyed to the concerned ministries of BARMM” Minister Jajurie said in her talks with the community of Tugas.

“The Joint Task Force Sulu together with our partners will continue to sustain the Balik Barangay Program in Patikul. Presently, IDPs of barangays Maligay and Kabontakas are on the process of returning to their respective barangays actively supported by 32nd IB, 21st IB, and 6th SFBn. We have likewise committed to return the IDPs of barangays Panglayahan, Pansul, and Timpook the soonest possible time. I also wish to convey my sincere appreciation to Minister Raisa Jajurie for extending the MSSD’s livelihood assistance to the ASG returnees of Sulu, your support is a big help in the operationalization of the ASG integration program of JTF Sulu.” – BGen William N Gonzales, Commander, JTF Sulu