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25,000 Saudi jobs for Maguindanao workers

Cotabato City – Partnering civilian and military sectors launched a multi-pronged peace and development initiative that aims to employ 25,000 residents in Maguindanao, to protect them from abuses in syndicated illegal human trafficking, and alleviate poverty in the province.

Maguindanao Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu kicked-off the project with the ceremonial switching of 46 street lights that were installed strategically around the vast compound of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

Before the ceremonies, the governor was given a military honor parade by 6ID chief Major General Romeo Gapuz and his men in tribute to Mangudadatu’s donation of the solar-powered street lamps, which now illuminate fully the military establishment, and to infusion of public and private sectors under the “Light for Work” venture.

“Light brightens human horizons, while darkness dims and distorts man’s mind to commit mistakes,” Gapuz said in his introductory remarks for the project, which was said to be the first of its kind in the country to flesh out the military paradigm shift to peace-building in the troubled Mindanao region.

Gapuz was as delighted as dozens of spectators and journalists in witnessing the convergence for the first time of all 36 mayors in Maguindanao, including leaders of the Ampatuan political clan, with Mangudadatu and Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, provincial police director.

Gapuz, Mangudadatu, and Jocson were once reported as involved in “strained friendship” due to cases of policy differences.

The mayors and representatives of Maguindanao’s 36 towns took turns in committing support to the partnership program, which the provincial government and the 6ID conceived to employ 25,000 local residents in Saudi Arabia with an assured minimum monthly salary of $400 each.