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Former MILF camp receives agriculture training


MUNAI, LANAO DEL NORTE -- The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has launched a program that will provide an opportunity to grow agriculture and organic farming for residents of Sitio Cura-Cura in barangay Tamparan. Situated in Cura-Cura is the former MILF detachment "Camp Bilal," managed by Abdullah Macapaar, formerly known as Kumander Bravo. Macapaar is now a member of Parliament at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government. In the program launch on Tuesday, the ATI introduced the LAMBO project or Lead Agriculture: Maximizing camp Bilal Opportunities which aims to provide agriculture training to 75 farmers who will be trained in upland rice and vegetable production as well as halal free range chicken production. "Lambo" is the Visayan word for "improvement" or "development." The training program is done weekly and is expected to run for four months. This initiative is part of the "Arms to Farms" program of the municipality of Kauswagan. Although Cura-Cura is situated in the nearby Municipality of Munai, the Kauswagan municipal agriculture office had become its closest support group for agriculture development. According to Kauswagan municipal mayor Rommel Arnado, the main goal has always been to achieve peace where its campaign continues and strengthens advocacies on peacebuilding since the arms to farms program began in 2010. The program was internationally recognized after winning the 2016 Peace Prize Award in Bogota, Colombia from international group United Cities and Local Governments. The program paved the way for former rebels and MILF leaders to abandon their arms and start managing their own farms. Macapaar previously led violent raids which included the Kauswagan siege 20 years ago. As an official of BARMM, he now pushes for more development in marginalized Maranao communities in northern Mindanao. He says the current peace enjoyed by the people of Kura kura and Lanao del Norte is an important part of development.

Former MILF and BARMM Member of Parliament, Hon. Abdullah 'Kumander Bravo' Macapaar, stated that all support from government go directly to the people of Camp Bilal during the launch of ATI's agriculture training program in Sitio Cura-Cura, Tamparan, Munai, Lanao del Norte. (Photo: J.Umaran/HRS Media)
Former MILF and BARMM Member of Parliament, Hon. Abdullah 'Kumander Bravo' Macapaar, stated that all support from government go directly to the people of Camp Bilal during the launch of ATI's agriculture training program in Sitio Cura-Cura, Tamparan, Munai, Lanao del Norte. (Photo: J.Umaran/HRS Media)

Meanwhile, ATI Training Center Region X Officer-in-Charge, Maria Lydia Echavez, encouraged residents to follow Macapaar’s example to ensure that every family has food on their table. ATI is the training arm of the Department of Agriculture mandated to provide capabilities to people and communities. These efforts will also extend coordination with Munai Municipality to maintain and strengthen the sustainability of the project.

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