About 45 decommissioned combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and their beneficiaries have graduated from the 35-day Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) 2021 during the closing rites and distribution of training support funds in Sta. Clara, Lamitan City.

Twenty-five graduates completed the skills training on Dressmaking NC II, while the other 20 Cookery NC II. About 200 decommissioned combatants are currently set to follow their footsteps and enroll in STEP training courses, a part of the normalization process under the ongoing Bangsamoro political transition.

Addressing the graduates, Task Force for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC) Co-Chair and Bangsamoro Parliament Deputy Speaker MP Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia said that the graduation is “a significant win for all.”

STEP is a community-based specialty training program focusing on community beneficiaries’ needs in order to encourage employment through entrepreneurial, self-employment, and service-oriented activities. The training falls under the Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program implemented by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“For the combatants, this graduation is proof of your faith in the future and perseverance in the hopes of improving lives and livelihoods,” MP Alamia said. “For TESDA and the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), this is proof of your commitment to the normalization program.”

She noted that the training ensures access to livelihood opportunities despite the challenges that come with the ongoing pandemic, and that the continued training programs for decommissioned combatants are proof of the government’s dedication to providing much-needed services for the Bangsamoro.