Former terror group members join BARMM search and rescue unit

Photo courtesy of Mindanao Voices

A week-long training on water search and rescue tactics critical to emergency and disaster response operations was completed Monday by 59 people, including five former members of a local terrorist group.

Five of the 59 graduates of the program, which was coordinated by the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence or READi and the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, were formerly linked with the proscribed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Through the intervention of the 6th ID and the regional government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, they escaped the BIFF and returned to regular life more than a year ago.

The Bangsamoro READi, which is overseen by Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, is made up of teams with experience in offshore and collapsed structure rescue, flood and traffic accident response, and conflict-affected community aid.

The 59 volunteers from Maguindanao province and Cotabato City spent seven days at the 6th ID’s Division Training School in Barangay Semba in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, learning about fundamental calamity and disaster response.

They went through a series of WASAR workshops led by Army instructors from the 6th ID’s training school in beachfront barangays in Datu Odin Sinsuat.

According to Sinarimbo, the commander of the 6th ID, Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, is a strong backer of the BARMM government’s capability-building plans.

“The regional government, the READi and the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government are thankful to the 6th ID and the training staff of the Division Training School for helping us in capability-building this program,” Sinarimbo, also regional spokesperson, said Tuesday.

The Bangsamoro READi is a collaborator with the regional health ministry in the BARMM government’s COVID-19 fight.

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