Gov't, MILF peace panels present Sajahatra Bangsamoro benefits

By Albashir Saiden, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Mar 05 2014 05:29 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2014 01:29 AM

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao - Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mohager Iqbal on Tuesday presented before Bangsamoro people and other stakeholders the services for the beneficiaries of the "Sajahatra Bangsamoro" joint peace and development program.

The socio-economic program, which aims to uplift the health, education and livelihood conditions of Bangsamoro communities, is an initiative of President Benigno Aquino III and MILF Chairman Murad Ibrahim to introduce the initial dividends of peace in Mindanao.

During the presentation held in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, a total of 9,311 individuals were identified to benefit from the PhilHealth insurance premium.

Some 6,684 were already enrolled in the "No Balance Billing Scheme Program" and 1,689 PhilHealth cards are ready for use for medical emergency cases.

Barangay health stations in different chosen barangays in North Cotabato, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Sulu were also committed for construction.

The Department of Health will provide 10 community-based midwives and 50 barangay health workers and a year subsidized medical supplies in all health stations.

Some 8,602 individuals were also identified to benefit from the 120-day supplemental feeding program.

The curriculum, capability of administrators and teachers, and basic facilities of 50 Madaris (Muslim private schools) are also being targeted for improvement.

Meanwhile, 639 college students were also given four-year scholarships in various state colleges and universities.

In terms of livelihood services, 1,030 individuals will be given scholarship for skills training through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Some 2,952 beneficiaries were also endorsed for cash-for-work program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The Department of Agriculture has also committed to construct eight farm-to-market roads and 2 fish landings in priority areas.

Nine sites were identified as areas for implementation of proposed livelihood projects following the completed Sajahatra-designed Community Livelihood Need Assessment and Planning Process (CLNAP).

Six Sajahtra sites were validated by DENR as forest land under the National Greening Program.

The chief negotiators have again reiterated that the Sajahatra program is not only for Muslims, but also for Christians and Lumad peoples as well.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro was launched last February 11, 2013 at an MILF camp in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat. Its launch saw Aquino becoming the first president to set foot in an MILF camp.