Agri projects to help restore normalcy in Maguindanao farming communities PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 30 March 2014 15:16

There are post harvest facilities built by World Bank in Maguindanao’s Datu Paglas municipality whose beneficiaries are certain can hasten the restoration of normalcy among barangay folks still recovering from the impact of armed conflicts in years past.

The normalization of the lives of Moro and Christian folks, and the non-Moro indigenous people (IP) in conflict-stricken areas in the proposed Bangsamoro territory is one of the socio-economic objectives of the newly-crafted Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The two newly-constructed solar dyers and a classroom for children of Moro peasants in Barangay Madidis in Datu    Paglas, located in the second district of Maguindanao, were built as a common initiative of  the local peasants, the World Bank and the conduit for its socio-economic initiatives for Moro communities, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Social Fund Project.

The two solar dryers are near mosques where farmers pray five times a day while their rice grains are being dried in the post-harvest facilities.

Ali Akbar Bangkala, president of the People’s Organization (PO) in Barangay Madidis, said they are grateful to the World Bank and ASFP for helping put up the projects.

More than 80 percent of residents in Barangay Madidis in the northeast of Datu Paglas town are Moro people that rely mainly on rice farming as their main source of income.

“These solar dryers that we constructed are now ushering in improvements in our production of rice grains. We have them right in our barangay and we don’t need to dry our grains in commercial dryers anymore,” Bangkala said in Filipino, in Maguindanaon accent.

The World Bank, which has been helping put up socio-economic projects in the ARMM through the ASFP for more than a decade now, has dozens of similar projects in selected underdeveloped areas in the autonomous region.

Experts from World Bank had rated repeatedly in recent years as “satisfactory” the implementation of its projects in the ARMM.

The World Bank-assisted projects of ASFP are being implemented by local sectors the “bayanihan way” with the support of their local government units.

Barangay Madidis was named after the Madidis clan in the area, whose leaders had governed the community, from one generation to another, even before the barangay was established as a political unit under the municipal government of Datu Paglas.

Ebrahim Madidis, who is the barangay chairman, said what is good about the solar dryer projects and classroom the ASFP and the World Bank helped put up in the community are near mosques where Muslim farmers perform their obligatory prayers.

“From their farms, they go to the solar dryers and during prayer time they go to the mosques nearby to pray,” Madidis said.

What is fascinating about the solar dryers, according to Madidis, is that grade school pupils and high schools students from surrounding schools also use them as makeshift basketball and volleyball courts when farmers do not dry rice grains.

“Because of their sports activities, we can easily distance them from bad influences such as use of illegal drugs. After playing out there, they go to the mosques near the solar dryers to pray,” Madidis said.