NGO distributes farm tools to conflict areas in Lanao Norte

Musa Sanguila of Pakigdait Inc. said they have provided “330 bolos and machete to farmers that can be used for backyard gardening and for their farms” in the three towns.

Pakigdait also provided five motorized bancas for fisherfolk in Kauswagan town with complete fishing gear, he said.

In Tangkal, an organized group of elderly Maranao women received "P25,000 as seed capital for their entrepreneurial endeavor."

"These small interventions are all part of post-conflict recovery efforts to conflict-affected communities with support from the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) based in United Kingdom," said
Abel Moya, project manager of  Pakigdait Inc.

“This is the first time that we got support from Pakigdait. They also gave us relief goods which we shared at the height of conflict. Now that we are back in our barangay and will resume our farm lives again, they purchased farm tools to support us,” Tangkal town mayor Sultan Abdulaziz Batinggolo said.

Moya explained that the "assistance is part of early recovery stage; we are not yet in the rehabilitation period under a comprehensive development plan."

"Tangkal town is our model for Islamic governance where transparency is integrated in its system; a project supported by ACT for Peace," Sanguila said.

"Before,  it was declared  a no-man's land. We wish that MILF and the AFP will declare this place as a peace zones and make it truly a peaceful community of farmers. We all need to work for peace so that we could move forward," he said.

Lt. Col. Sagat Bongolan, commanding officer of 35th Infantry Battalion who was also in Tangkal on Feb. 17 has volunteered that his battalion be allowed to “make Tangkal part of its area of responsibility."

"If our request be granted, we will conduct security patrol in this place," he said.

Capt. Alonto Maamo said that "the 104rth Infantry Brigade will continually secure the area and will also assist in future medical missions which will be conducted by 20 Korean doctors."

"I ask you not be suspicious about medicines from foreign countries because these are helpful enough to respond to your health problems," Maamo said.

"It is our policy now that medical missions should be done in remote hinterland areas because these are communities that are hardly availing social services," he explained.  (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)