SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Peace has come to a corner of Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao and the orphans of war sheltered in a home in Barangay Gang here have reason to hope.
The Army’s 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division based in Camp Siongco, Datu Odin Sinsuat here led by Brigadier General Arnel dela Vega; 6th ID Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board; Golden Institute Philippines (GIP) and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) launched recently the Peace and Development Program for orphans of war.
Dubbed as Project “Kagkapia” (Hope), it has the support of Gov. Mujiv Hataman through the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART), and GIP’s Susana Anayatin. It aims to extend psychological intervention to orphans of Markaz-ul Aytam Orphanage Center in Barangay Gang, Sultan Kudarat.
The orphanage, which Ustadz Hasan Maloon administers, relies solely on voluntary contributions from benevolent sources.
Capt. Arvin Encinas, 6th ID Public Affairs Office chief, said Project Kagkapia has benefited 280 children who are orphans of war as a result of to the conflict in the region.
Most of these children, with ages ranging from 8 to 22, came from conflict-affected areas in the five provinces of ARMM – Maguindanao, Lanao Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Encinas said the peace and development project includes the distribution of sports equipment, slippers, hygiene and sanitary kits, food supplies and provisions for the feeding program.
Under Project Hope, the orphanage will undergo repair and renovation by the 6th Civil-Military Operations Battalion with Hataman providing construction materials that will greatly improve the orphans’ living conditions.
”Project Kagkapia (Hope) aims to make the orphans feel that the government and other sectors of the society care for them and want them to have high hopes for the future,”” Encinas said.
The convergence of efforts for Project Hope among various stakeholders is also in line with the Armed Forces of the Philippines goal of working actively to help achieve lasting peace in the region.
”Orphans of war, if not properly taken care of, can be potential recruits by bad elements or even terrorists/extremists. Hence, Project Kagkapia is the 6ID’s tool to insulate the children from such bad influence,” Dela Vega said.