CARMEN, Cotabato (MindaNews / 18 September) — Two hundred Moro widows, 100 each from the towns of Kabacan and Carmen, Cotabato received 50,000 pesos each as part of livelihood assistance from the Bangsamoro government.
“Their late husbands laid their lives for our dream of a government that will provide them all the opportunities for a free and better life. They deserve it,” said lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, Minister of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government- Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MILG-BARMM).
“We cannot certainly replace their loved ones but this simple gesture is to recognize their contribution in what we have achieved and honor their memory,” he further said.
The project is under the MILG-BARMM’s Bangsamoro Integrated Rehabilitation and Development Program funded by the Special Development Fund.
The payout was held at the government center in Barangay Manarapan, Carmen, where MILF rebels and government forces had fought during the all-out-war in 2000.
Sinarimbo emphasized the importance of meeting the immediate needs of these war widows while also providing long-term sustainable development programs for them, which is to transform them through capacity building, rural infrastructure development, and livelihood opportunities.
The plan is to organize them as a cooperative to help their livelihoods even further.
Zukria Abas, a widow of an MILF commander killed in the 2014 war in Buliok, Pikit, Cotabato, was thinking of using the cash assistance for the tuition of her three children.
She said she is thankful that they received the assistance during this time that most of them are already old and sickly.
She narrated the hardships they encountered during the war as single parents.
But she added that amid the hardship she was not discouraged to send her children to school.
Zukria prayed that war won’t happen again in her children’s time.
“We are so tired of it, we don’t want them to experience and witness the horrors we had. We are praying no more wars will happen,” she said.
Meanwhile, of the seven villages in Carmen belonging to the BARMM’s Special Geographic Area, Barangay Manarapan is being lobbied as the center of the proposed Kapalawan town.
Manarapan has a newly built barangay hall, a health center, and a public market built by the Bangsamoro government. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)