MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao, May 7 – Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Dinky Soliman assured residents affected by the military’s all out offensive against rebels responsible for the death of police commandos of the state’s continuing support to enrich their lives.
In her visit at Tukanalipao village on May 5, the scene of the covert operation on January 25 against Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan that left 44 police commandos’ dead, Soliman told residents at the town’s gymnasium that they will implement as soon as possible cash for asset rebuilding scheme to restore properties and livelihood destroyed at the height of military operation.
Soliman said the program would be implemented along with the United Nations, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government and local government units.
She said the funding for the program would depend on the needs of each family affected number of families affected and what are going to rebuild for their new life.
“The scheme will also cover skills trainings. I hope to get all the data next week before we will draft the work and financial plan,” Soliman said.
On February 25, the military launched an all-out-offensive against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, leaving 73 rebels killed, 33 wounded and four of their camps captured.
The military also lost ten soldiers, including a captain from the Scout Rangers and thirteen wounded, among them an Air force pilot. More than 80,000 people have been displaced according to the government and humanitarian agencies.
At the same time, Soliman admitted the government’s flagship anti-poverty program was affected by security problems in the last twelve months.
Soliman said that their partner merchants in charge of dispensing their grants under Conditional Cash Transfer program are afraid to go here for fear of their safety.
“I wanted to apologize. I know it’s almost twelve months since we have our pay out for your grants under CCT. I know all of you know the reason behind. Our merchants are afraid to go here because of the conflict,” she explained.
“But I told them its not chaotic here in Mamasapano. They have nothing to fear now because the people here love peace. That’s why please help us convince the public that it’s peaceful here,” she added.
In this town, around 13,000 thousand families are covered by CCT program. Under its conditions, the CCT allocates grants P500 to P1, 400 for each beneficiary household, depending on the number of eligible children. Each family is allowed a maximum of three children to receive the monthly benefits.
It calls children aged 3 to 18 to stay in school and maintain class attendance of at least 85 percent each month. Pregnant women are also required to avail pre- and post-natal care, and delivery must be assisted by skilled health personnel, while parents are mandatory to take “family development sessions” to enable them to become better parents. (End)