Unique ‘BUB’ agri projects gain headway in Lanao, Maguindanao PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 11:03

Local government units in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur that received last month special grants from the Department of Agriculture’s Bottoms Up Budgeting (DA’s BUB) are now implementing projects at the backdrop of a fragile peace as initial dividend of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

The DA’s BUB, also known as “grassroots participatory budgeting,” has earmarked P1 billion for various agricultural projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2014, according to lawyer Makmod Mending, Jr., who is ARMM’s regional agriculture secretary.

“The local government units that received the grants have started implementing their respective projects. There is tranquility now in the beneficiary towns so we are sure these projects will be accomplished without hitches,” Mending said.

He said the signing of the CAB in Malacañang last March 27 by the government’s chief negotiator, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, and her counterpart in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Muhaquer Iqbal, has inspired the recipient LGUs to vigorously push their projects forward.

“Apparently to complement the socio-economic components of the GPH-MILF peace overture,” Mending said.

The first group to receive DA’s BUB project grants were comprised of eight towns in Lanao del Sur, which got an aggregate amount of P40.3 million, intended for agricultural facilities and other infrastructures, including farm-to-market roads.

Three municipalities in Maguindanao, Buldon, Barira and Parang towns, have also received P9 million worth of project grants.

The latest releases of DA’s BUB project funds, for five more Lanao del Sur towns, were facilitated last March 25 by Mending and ARMM Regional Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia at the region’s Astana Hall in Cotabato City.

The five Lanao del Sur towns — Lumbatan, Bayang, Bumbaran, Lumbayanague, and Tagoloan — got a total of P16.7 million assistance for various projects.

“The projects are intended to help address poverty and underdevelopment in the areas where they are to be implemented,” Mending said.

Alamia said the ARMM’s chief executive, Gov. Mujiv Hataman, has enlisted the help of civil society organizations and local media outfits in monitoring the implementation of the DA’s BUB projects in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

Alamia said the DA’s BUB projects can help boost the normalization process the government and the MILF are to bilaterally initiate in areas devastated by conflicts in decades past.

“These are good `ground preparations’ for the coming in of a new set-up, the Bangsamoro political entity, that would replace the ARMM,” Alamia said.

Mending said this year’s DA’s BUB funds are intended for 338 projects in 104 municipalities in the autonomous region.

The releases of DA’s BUB grants will soon be expanded to the ARMM’s three island provinces, he added.

The ARMM covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, which the MILF wants to fuse together under a Bangsamoro government set-up.

The projects to be funded by the DA’s BUB were identified by the Local Poverty Reduction Action Team, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and various civil society organizations.

“We ought to thank Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Malacañang for all of these `good tidings’ coming in form of development support and intervention,” They are the principals of these pro-Moro socio-economic endeavor,” Alamia said.

Mending just led last week the launching of two farm-to-market roads in Maguindanao’s Buldon and Barira towns, as part of the DA’s BUB initiative.

The projects, a thoroughfare that would cut through and interconnect farming enclaves in Barangay Cabayuan in Buldon, and the other, an artery that would link farmlands in Barangay Marang in Barira to a national highway, will be implemented by the LGUs of the two towns. — Felix Ostrea