A TOTAL of 47 former members of private armed groups (PAGs) received P10,000 financial aid each and food packs as an initial livelihood assistance from the government.

Police Colonel Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao, said the assistance was distributed during the profiling of PAGs and provision of support on Monday, January 30, at the Maguindanao Police Provincial Headquarters in Shariff Aguak town.

The activity was initiated by the National Task Group on Reintegration and Rehabilitation (NTG RNR) and National Task Force on the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups (NTF DPAGs).

The activity is also aligned to the Peace Agreement of the Government of the Philippines with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It also gives the surrenderers a new hope for a better life and live peacefully.

Dr. Diana Rose Cajipe, Department of Social Welfare and Development assistant secretary, the activity’s guest speaker, enjoined the surrenderers not to waste the opportunity of starting a new life with their respective families.

Cajipe said the financial aid and food packs they received are just the initial assistance of the government as other government agencies, which are members of the NTG-RNR will also extend necessary assistance based on their needs based the result of the case management being conducted by DSWD as part of the profiling process.

The agencies include Department of Labor, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Statistics Authority, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education, and other agencies.

Aside from Cajipe and Verceles, the other officials who attended Monday’s activity include Colonel Donald Gumiran, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander; Police Colonel Roel Sermese, Maguindanao police director; Joan Hope Tolibas, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism-Project Management Office chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and DSWD Assistant Regional Director Bonifacio Selma Jr. (SunStar Zamboanga)