ARMM’s ‘BRIDGE’ program launched PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 January 2015 11:37

The executive department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) launched Thursday another comprehensive “grassroots” development intervention package meant to restore normalcy in poor, conflict-wracked communities.

The program, Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment, or “BRIDGE,” aims to involve barangay folks in providing services to the local communities as a capacity-building measure meant to encourage public cooperation in governance and to hasten the normalization of areas made poor by security problems and calamities.

The BRIDGE will complement the ARMM’s now two-year continuing Humanitarian, Education, Livelihood and Peace Synergy (HELPS) initiative, which delivers community extension services directly to underdeveloped barangays in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in Central Mindanao, and in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who led the launching of the BRIDGE at the Office of the Regional Governor (ORG) in Cotabato City, said the new program will have community development, capacity-building, administration, monitoring and evaluation components.

The BRIDGE is intended to hasten the ARMM’s development efforts that are focused on the restoration of normalcy in underdeveloped communities that are still reeling off from the bad effects of armed conflicts.

Hataman said all development initiatives of the ARMM are in support of the common socio-economic agenda of President Benigno Aquino III, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which is chaired by Muhaquer Iqbal of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“While we wait for the transition, from the ARMM to the new MILF-led Bangsamoro, we will extensively deliver all kinds of services and capability-building interventions to the local communities as part of our preparations for the `continuing expansion’ of the Mindanao peace process, under the Bangsamoro governing outfit,” Hataman said.

He said the Mindanao peace process, which aims to foster  durable political, socio-economic and religious solidarity among Muslims, Christians and the lumad people, will intensity with the implementation “in letter and spirit” of the government-MILF peace pact.

Also present in the launching of the BRIDGE were the ARMM’s regional vice-governor, Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, and Hataman’s regional executive secretary, lawyer Laisa Alamia.

Alamia said the Hataman administration is keen on expanding its community-based programs meant to provide economic and political empowerment to barangay folks as a preparation for the creation of the Bangsamoro government.

The setting up of the Bangsamoro entity is part of the peace deal between the government and the MILF, the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

The enabling measure for the creation of the outfit that would replace the ARMM, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, is now in Congress, expected to be enacted into law within the year.