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Marines to help oversee skills training center in former MILF bastion

John Unson - Philstar.com
Marines to help oversee skills training center in former MILF bastion
The Skills Development Center in Camp Abubakar in Barira, Maguindanao del Norte was opened in the third week of February.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY (Updated 02/22/24; 4:10 p.m.) — The Marines shall help watch over a livelihood skills training center for villagers in the former main enclave of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is surrounded by municipalities in Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Cotabato provinces.

The Skills Development Center or SDC, established as a vehicle for peace and development in the local communities by the Australian government via its Australian Aid, and the Philippine Business for Social Progress, is in the heart of the MILF’s historic erstwhile Camp Abubakar in Barangay Tugaig in Barira, Maguindanao del Norte, where the headquarters of the 1st Marine Brigade is located.

Camp Abubakar, now a “peace zone,” is covered by the front’s peace accords with Malacañang, the 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and subsequently, the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro that paved the way for the setting up in 2019 of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that replaced the then 27-year Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that had lesser political, fiscal and administrative powers.

The commander of the 1st Marine Brigade, Brig. Gen. Eric Macaambac, said on Wednesday that the newly built SDC shall provide residents of Camp Abubakar, also known now as the government’s Camp Iranun, with free livelihood trainings needed to boost their productivity as farmers, livestock raisers and community-based entrepreneurs.

“They need other means of generating income to sustain their families besides traditional propagation of short-term crops and this training facility will help them have that,” Macaambac said.

The national government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education-BARMM helped establish the SDC, according to Macaambac.

Local executives in predominantly Iranun towns around Camp Abubakar, among them Mayor Cahar Ibay of Parang in Maguindanao del Norte, told reporters on Wednesday that they will support the operation of the SDC.

“That would be a good facet for skills development among Iranuns now thriving peacefully in Camp Abubakar and in towns around,” Ibay said.

Camp Abubakar, surrounded by hinterlands with tropical rainforests and crisscrossed by rivers, was fully cleared from MILF occupation on July 16, 2000 by state forces after three weeks of bloody air, ground and artillery offensives. 

vuukle comment

COTABATO

LANAO DEL SUR

MAGUINDANAO DEL NORTE

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