COTABATO CITY -- The Regional Government of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (Armm) distributed several hand tractors to internally displaced people in the region as one way of enticing the evacuees to return to their homes and start living normal lives again.

In a simple ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Armm regional executive secretary Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo said the distribution of the hand tractors is part of their “early recovery program,” which is a big shift from their relief operations they had been conducting since 2008.

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Sinarimbo said this new policy is aimed at encouraging thousands of evacuees, still staying in several evacuation centers in the province of Maguindanao, to return to their homes, which they left when armed conflict broke out in 2008 due to the nullification of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain between the MILF and the government under the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Armm initially distributed 26 hand tractors last Tuesday. There were 13 “return sites” that benefited from the distribution with each area receiving two tractors each.

Sinarimbo said they have identified a total of 46 return sites for the said project.

Armm allocated P10 million for the said program that is expected to benefit about 16,000 families that are still staying in evacuation centers. (BOT)