ISABELA CITY, Basilan Aug 4 (PIA) - The first batch composed of 53 former Abu Sayyaf (ASG) rebels completed the 3-day Agri-Livelihood training held at the 64th Infantry Battalion, Tumahubong, Sumisip.
These trainees also received farm tools, fertilizer sprayers, and vegetables seeds.
"Ang pagbabago ay nandito. Noon, hindi namin nakikita ang pagbabago. Ngayon nakikita na namin ang suporta ng Philippine Government sa amin. At nakikita yun ng mga tao," Muril Wiril, ASG surrenderee from Baywas, Sumisip said.
The Advancing and Sustaining Good Governance and Community Actions towards Resiliency and Empowerment (AS2GCARE) under the Program Against Violent Extremism (PAVE) is now pursuing the AGRILIVELIHOOD program for ASG returnees, dubbed as "Lupa para sa tao, Tao para sa lupa" in support of the provincial government's advocacy.
Balay Mindanaw Foundation Inc. (BMFI) spearheaded the training in partnership with the Office of the Provincial Government through the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAg), the Municipal Government of Sumisip, and Joint Task Force Basilan as a venue of learning and an alternative to the exposure tours earlier conducted.
The program is to transform the mind-set of a former rebel from being a fighter to a productive citizen by engaging in agricultural activities (farming) as the primary source of living of Basilenos and as response to COVID-19 pandemic to sustain their daily needs.
The 3-day vegetable production training was successfully conducted last 26 to 28 July 2020 at Headquarters 64 Infantry (Knights) Battalion Tumahubong Basilan.
The project will conduct series of training on Agricultural Vegetable Production for the returnees this July and August which will benefit 265 surrenderees and they are divided into five batches.
Col. Domingo B Gobway INF (GSC) PA, Commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB) graced the culmination ceremony on July 28, 2020 together with Dr. Khayang Luy Battad of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG), Nurhati Tangging of BMFI, LTC Renante D Besa INF (GSC) PA, Battalion Commander of 64th IB and LTC Freddie F Calosing INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer 68th IB.
Col. Gobway, thanked its partners and other stakeholders for the "untiring support and commitment" in helping former ASG rebels reintegrate well in their respective communities, for peace and development in the province.
"In behalf of Joint Task Force Basilan kami po ay nagsusuporta at nakikiisa sa ganitong programa," Gobway concluded. (NBE/RVC/PIA9-Basilan with report from 101st Brigade, PA)