• MILF, AFP join Brigada Eskwela

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    RAJA MUDA, Pikit, North Cotabato: Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had an opportunity to work together as volunteers for Brigada Eskwela at Camp Raja Muda on Wednesday.

    Led by the deputy commander of the national guard 3rd command base of the MILF, about 30 MILF members, who are skilled carpenters, and members of AFP’s 602nd Infantry Brigade were on ground for the event.

    Simultaneous with Raja Muda, another group of MILF fighters and army troops volunteered for Brigada at Camp Bushra, Lanao del Sur.

    Together, they repaired roofs damaged by war including dents on windows and cleaned the grounds and painted the Raja Muda Elementary School.

    Gen. Carlito Galvez, chair of the government’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), said the Brigada Eskwela in the MILF camps is part of the signed commitment to transform the rebel camps as social progressive entity.

    He added that it is also part of the normalization process, which also include de-commissioning of MILF firearms and the fighters in all camps; transitional justice, individual social and economic livelihood in recognition of the fact that the Moro areas have long been marginalized.

    Galvez said they have targeted three schools per MILF camp. Aside from Camp Raja Muda and Bushra, Galvez disclosed they will be conducting Brigada Eskwela in Camp Abubakar, Matanog, Maguindanao and in Camp Omar Thursday. On Friday, they will be at Camp Badre in Maguindanao.

    “This is the first time we are meeting after the war. First time kong nakatapak dito (my first time to step in here) sa ibang (in different) perspective,” Galvez said, adding that the school was burned during the all-out war in 2000.

    Galvez admitted they are already delayed to hold the Brigada Eskwela because they still need to do political arrangements and process financial requirements for the procurement of P100,000 worth of materials. Other costs were covered by other government agencies and public officials.

    Mindira Lamping, a Grade 5 teacher of Raja Muda for 17 years, hoped they would finally achieve peace in the area because the children are the ones affected.

    She said they were in difficult situation before. Their classes were disrupted three times because of the armed conflict in 1997, the all-out war in 2000 and in 2008 due to the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain or MOA-AD.

    PNA

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