The Duterte Administration Gives MILF Members Farming Assistance as Part of Their Peace Negotiation Process!


A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) couldn't help but cry after the government granted him farming tools.



Jacob Palao is not just a Moro rebel. The 56-year old guerrilla fights along side with his fellow MILF rebels three times a week and spends the rest of his week farming.

Palao and 126 other members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) received farm tool including farm animals from the Office of the Presidential Peace Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) in Camp Darapanan here, an MILF base.

These farming assistance were granted to them as a part of the government's peace process.

Jacob Palao couldn't hold it in and burst to tears when he received the assistance.

"I thought about it but I didn’t expect it to come too soon," Palao said after th OPAPP project implementation chair for Bangsamoro, Irene Santiago, distributed plows, farm implements and farm animals.

"At my age, I never expected that carrying guns in the name of the struggle would end," he added.

"Instead, I will be using plows and carabaos as I farm," the 56-year old said as he wipe his tears of joy. "I can now live peacefully with my family. It’s unlike in the past when I could not tell whether I would come home alive or not," he added.

"Uanlike in the past when I couldn't tell whether I would be able to come alive or not," Palao said.

The government distribute 103 carabaos, 83 cattle heads, goats, rice and corn seeds, rubber and fruit seedlings, and fertilizers.

The aid was a part of President Rodrigo Duterte's commitment to pursue the peace process with the Moro rebels, who agreed to an expanded autonomous region.



Santiago said that the program is dissimilar to the previous livelihood projects offerent to rebels.

"We are looking at changes and these are not just giving and receiving. This is about making social change not only with the decommissioned combatants but also their communities," she said.

Among the weapons surrendered to the government was Palao's Armalite rifle as a transition of MILF rebels from combatants to productive members of the community.

Palao is hoping that turning away from a conflict-stricken life to full-time farmer would help him send his children to school.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF or in Arabic, Jabhat Taḥrīr Moro al-ʿIslāmiyyah) is a Moro and Lumad of Muslim people based in Mindanao, Philipines and was built back in 1960's following the Jabidah massacre.

Former President Noynoy Aquino had plans to meet the MILF back in 2012 for peace talks. But it took 2 years for the rebels to finally agree to have a negotiation about the ceasefire with the government.


Source: TNP, INQ



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