Nation


GPH-MILF body for Sajahatra Bangsamoro OKs guidelines




Posted on May 11, 2013


A joint committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has agreed on the implementing guidelines of the social welfare package aimed at uplifting health, education and livelihood conditions of Moro communities..

The joint committee met for the first time on Thursday, Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene D. Almendras said in a statement, as part of a commitment forged under the Framework Agreement between the government and the MILF.

“We are excited, happy that this joint panel is now in place,” Mr. Almendras said.

Under Administrative Order (AO) 37 signed on Feb. 13, the Task Force Bangsamoro Development is responsible for continuing the “Sajahatra Bangsamoro” that was launched in January in Sultan Kudarat, near the main camp of MILF.

Sajahatra, which means peace, blessing and prosperity, was a social welfare package that included scholarship programs, cash-for-work project and upgrading of health facilities in the community. The launch was attended by President Benigno S.C. Aquino III himself to show the government’s seriousness in its commitment to end the decades-long conflict in Mindanao.

The coordinating committee agreed on program implementation, monitoring and evaluation, communications, security, and confidentiality arrangements as well as provincial launches of Sajahatra that will begin in June.

The government Task Force on Bangsamoro Development is led by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Agriculture (DA) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), among others.

The MILF has been working with the government in identifying areas for intervention, Mr. Almendras said.

“We are here to work together to deliver much needed basic services that our brothers and sisters need,” he added. “This is only the beginning. I know there will be challenges and obstacles.”

Sajahatra was launched as part of the commitment under the Framework Agreement signed in October last year. Among others, it aims to create the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The comprehensive peace pact, however, has yet to be signed by both parties after sorting of details -- the annexes of the Framework Agreement -- took longer than expected. -- Noemi M. Gonzales