Moro fisherfolk lauded for peacebuilding initiatives

The Tumbras Muslim Fisher Folks Association (TUMUFFA), of Midsayap town, was one of 10 groups that presented their success stories during the Second People's Organizations Festival held at the Guadalupe Formation Center in Balindog, Kidapawan City last week.

TUMUFFA was recognized by government agencies, civil society organizations, academe, and even funding agencies.

TUMUFFA has 135 members, about three-quarters of whom are Moro. The group was lucky as it started very small but is apparently enjoying its success now.

Nancy Divinagracia, group spokesman who happen to be not a Moro, said its members were among the innocent victims of the armed conflict between the government and the Moro rebels.

She said that during armed conflicts, they usually leave the place lest they be hit in a crossfire. But life after the conflicts, she pointed out, remained difficult.

Divinagracia said that due to limited boats and fishnets, fisher folks could only catch and sell one to two kilos of fish everyday which could not even support their daily needs.

The group has received inland fishing equipment, including boats and fishnets, from the Support to Agrarian Reform Communities in Central Mindanao (STARCM), a special project of the Department of Agrarian Reform in south and central Mindanao.

“With the assistance from the STARCM, members of the organization would rather talk how their lives have changed and improved. Fishing became easy and more rewarding,” she recalled.

Divinagracia said that due to the increased income, they are now able to buy household appliances, send their children to school and houses are now made of concrete materials. (MindaNews)