Press Release
February 12, 2013


Senator Chiz Escudero praised President Benigno Aquino III who he said made history by visiting a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camp in Sultan Kudarat to show his commitment to the peace process in Mindanao.

President Aquino visited the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute compound in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao to launch the socio-economic initiative called Sajahatra Bangsamoro in preparation for the creation of the autonomous region spelled out under the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

"He is making history, it's bold, it's courageous, and I salute him for it," Escudero said of the President's effort to reach out to the MILF.

"It is part, I believe, of confidence building measures that are necessary to make the framework agreement work and achieve lasting peace in Mindanao," Escudero added.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro is an initiative aimed at uplifting the health, education and livelihood conditions of MILF communities to pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity that was agreed on between the government and the MILF.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro literally means Peace Bangsamoro in Arabic and it is Aquino's concrete manifestation of his commitment to achieve enduring peace in the Mindanao region.

Escudero said President Aquino's gesture to personally tackle and find solutions to the peace problem in Mindanao is a grand and magnanimous act coming from the highest leader of the land.

The Sajahatra Bangsamoro will focus on health, education and livelihood services that would be facilitated through an inter-agency campaign.

Included in the program are provisions of health insurance by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), upgrading of community-based health services by the Department of Health (DOH): awarding of of college scholarships and technical-vocational training by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), respectively.

Educational assistance will also be provided to madaris (Islamic schools) and private schools by the Department of Education.

Needs assessment of selected Bangsamoro communities and the Cash for Work Program, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, will also be initiated, Almendras said.

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