D.A. to Unveil Livelihood, Infra Programs in Support of MILF Peace Pact

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The Department of Agriculture is fully supportive of the ongoing peace efforts for Mindanao, a major highlight of which is the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in Malacañang, on March 27, 2014.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said he is set to present to President Aquino the Department’s proposed initial interventions – including livelihood and infrastructure projects such as farm-to-market roads and small-scale irrigation – under the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro is President Aquino’s concrete, socio-economic initiative aimed to uplift the health, education, and livelihood conditions of MILF communities.

“May mga programa po kaming nakalaan para sa mga mangingisda at gayundin sa mga magsasaka,” said Secretary Alcala. “Sa pagsuko nila ng kanilang mga armas, kailangan po silang matulungan na isaayos ang kanilang kabuhayan.”

Amounting to P212.9 million, the initial support will cover four regions (Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao and SOCCSKSARGEN) and 10 provinces (Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga Sibugay, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Davao Oriental and North Cotabato).

The date of the presentation to President Aquino has yet to be finalized by the Office of the President, Secretary Alcala said.

The Secretary said he trusts that CAB will help put closure to one of Asia’s bloodiest and longest-running armed conflicts and bring enduring peace in Southern Philippines. In fact, he is encouraged more than ever by the strong commitment of support and cooperation from beneficiaries themselves whom he was able to meet in several engagements leading to today’s signing ceremony.

“Dati ay pinakaka-abalahan nila ay pakikipaglaban, ngayon ang sabi ng mga [nakapulong ko na dating mga MILF commanders]: “Kung gaano kami kasigla sa pakikipaglaban dati ay mas masigla kaming mag-araro ngayon sa aming mga bukirin,” Secretary Alcala said. (Mac Garcia, DA OSEC)

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