Phase out of World Bank projects in Moro areas starts PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 June 2014 11:39

The socio-economic projects of World Bank in far-flung Moro communities have been phased out based on a fixed operation timeframe set by government and the donor outfit.

Employees of World Bank’s conduit for its projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP), are now packing up, preparing for their return to the different regional government agencies where they belong, after helping oversee, as an inter-agency composite group, dozens of projects in remote underdeveloped areas for nearly two decades.

The ASFP’s office in Cotabato will totally shutdown by September this year, according to insiders.

The World Bank–ASFP tie up officially ended on May 31, 2014. The partnership began with a “soft loan” of US $36 million from World Bank more than ten years ago and, subsequently, extended in late 2010 with another US $30 million package.

The development packages were spent for various projects such as farm-to-market roads, footbridges, small river and sea boat docks, solar dryers and warehouses, health centers, multi-purpose halls, and other small infrastructures in the five ARMM provinces — Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said residents of the autonomous region are very grateful of the help the World Bank had extended to them.

“The projects `revolutionized’ the lives of people in recipient-areas, implemented as communal initiatives, where folks have had direct participation as construction workers,” he added.

Even Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, whose administration also has on-going local interventions intended to address poverty in far-flung areas in the 36 towns under his jurisdiction, lauded the World Bank too.

Among the projects the World Bank had implemented in Maguindanao were school buildings and solar dryers in the towns of North Upi, Parang, and Datu Paglas.

The ASFP had also facilitated the construction of a solar dryer, a warehouse, and a health center in a predominantly Moro barangay in Pagalungan town in the second district of Maguindanao.

The same projects were also implemented in the ARMM provinces of Lanao del Sur, and in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Besides having built footbridges in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, the World Bank also helped put up small sea and river boat docks in the two island provinces, now benefiting seafarers and marine merchants that ferry their merchandise from one island town to another using small traditional “Kumpit” boats powered by automobile engines.

Among the latest  World Bank projects implemented in Sulu  is the P1.9 million multi-trade center in Barangay Pasil in the municipality of Indanan.

The trade center, which ASFP engineers describe as more of a multi-purpose structure, is free for use by local folks for development and peace-oriented community gatherings.

“These projects were religiously implemented, free from any political color, because it was the people in the communities that constructed them, in the spirit of the Filipino `bayanihan’ tradition,” according to Lamitan City Vice-Mayor Roderick Furigay.

Furigay said the ASFP has implemented more than a dozen projects in Lamitan City, the provincial capital of Basilan, with the help of World Bank.

Technical staffers of World Bank had rated “satisfactory” for eight consecutive times, in recent years, the ASFP’s implementation of the projects it bankrolled through a “soft loan” scheme. The now defunct ASFP operated under Hataman’s ministerial supervision.