‘Bridge of Peace’ frees MILF community from zipline woes

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 09 March) — A hanging bridge has been completed in the hinterlands of Masiu, Lanao del Sur, finally freeing the community members from using a zipline they used for many years to cross a river.

Dubbed the “Bridge of Peace,” which spans 70 meters long and 1.4 meters wide, it was inaugurated Friday in a simple ceremony attended by representatives from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), World Bank and the local government unit of Masiu, among others.

Halil “Ariel” Amerol, Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) manager for Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte, said the hanging bridge was completed one year after construction.

The World Bank provided a grant of P7 million for the hanging bridge, which benefits the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) community in Sawer, Masarag, Masiu town, he added.

“Besides being isolated for many years, the community suffered displacements during the major wars between the government and the MILF in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008,” Amerol recalled.

The war in 2008 was triggered by the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain was unconstitutional.

The hanging bridge is within the MILF’s Hejratusalam Satellite Camp Bushara Somiyorang, where the late MILF vice chairman for military affairs Alim Abdul Aziz Mimbantas lived, Amerol said.

Mimbantas is the father of BARMM parliament member Dr. Marjanie Salic Macasalong Mimbantas, executive director of the Bangsamoro Youth Commission.

Mimbantas described the hanging bridge as “one of the fruits of the peace process between the government and the MILF.”

He said it could be the first of its kind that was completed after the establishment last year of the BARMM government, which was anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the final peace deal between the government and the MILF.

“The bridge definitely brings hope, dream, trust and inspiration to the locals,” Mimbantas said.

He urged the community members to pray and work for lasting peace.

Mimbantas said the hanging bridge could benefit the movement of people and goods from as far as Butig, Bumbaran and Wao towns.

The others who graced the launching include Bassit Abas Jannate Mimbantas, another member of the BARMM parliament and at the same time commander of the MILF’s North Eastern Front and member of the Independent Decommissioning Body; Steve Muncy, head of the Community Family Services International; and Wendil Diancalan, BDA executive director.

 

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