By Lou Ellen L. Antonio
PIAGAPO, Lanao del Sur, Sep. 3 (PIA) — The 13 former members of ISIS-linked Dawla Islamiya Local Terrorist Group (LTG) in this municipality were urged to start anew and move forward with the sari-sari store starter kits from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
DTI continues to pursue its commitment to supporting peacebuilding initiatives and reintegration program for the former rebels (FRs).
DTI Bangon Marawi Project Manager Rosalinda Pineda said that the government wants them to start off with the kits and make it grow.
“Ang gusto namin makitang magsimula kayo, dahil kung makita namin na kayo ay nagsimula, malaki ang potential na irekomenda namin kayo sa sa multi donor or government agency para mabigyan kayo at mapalago ang negosyo,” said Pineda.
[What we want is for us to see that you are starting, when we see that you are striving hard to start, there is a big potential that we will recommend you to multi-donor or government agency so that they will provide you with the opportunity to develop it.]
Pineda also shared that DTI’s assistance does not end with starter kits. She said that the agency is also committed to helping them in marketing their products.
“Kung sakali meron kayong produkto at gusto niyo magpatulong dahil ito ay dapat ibenta sa merkado, ang DTI ay may special program para sa marketing at product development hindi lang sa local kundi pati sa international,” she added.
[If you have products that need promotion, DTI has a special program for marketing and product development not just locally but internationally.]
Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Deputy Field Office Manager Antonio Sugarol also relayed the message of TFBM Field Office Manager Asec. Felix Jr. to motivate them to give importance to the assistance given to them.
“Hinikayat kayo na itong binigay, symbolic lang ito; maliit na halaga. Ngunit, ito ay first step. Hindi kayo makapag-ambisyon ng bigger step unless merong initial step. Ang importante ay maalagaan at isapuso ninyo ang objectives na gagawin ng DTI,” said Sugarol.
[You are encouraged that this assistance is just symbolic; with lesser value. This is just an initial step. You cannot dream of bigger unless you will not accomplish the initial steps. What is important is that you will protect and inculcate in your hearts the objectives of DTI to help.]
Representing 103rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, 82nd Infantry Battalion commander LtCol. Rafman Altre also reminded the FRs to utilize the starter kits to help their family.
“Pagkaingatan at ipropagate ninyo ito into big business para makatulong sa inyong pamilya at makatulong sa ikakaunlad ng community kung saan kayo naninirahan,” said Altre.
[Take good care and propagate these into big business so that you can help your family and help improve your community where you are living.]
Meanwhile, Piagapo town vice mayor Ali Sumandar hopes that this peace initiative will be sustained so that more rebels will be encouraged to go back to the folds of the law.
An open forum was also held in order for the FRs to voice out their sentiments and concerns to the government. (LELA/PIA ICIC)