Peasants, orphans get special treat during ARMM’s 26th charter day PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 21 November 2015 11:41

Peasants and hundreds of Moro orphans benefitted from Thursday’s commemoration in Cotabato City of the 26th founding anniversary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The event, however, was bereft of the customary merry-making and cultural programs, which were cancelled by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman in sympathy with the victims of the spate of recent terrorist attacks in France, in Lebanon and in Nigeria.

Hataman and his executive secretary, lawyer Laisa Alamia, instead dispersed P20 million worth of agricultural machineries and tools to peasant organizations and local government units as part of an effort to address poverty in far-flung farming enclaves.

Alamia said the mechanized and remedial farming inputs were procured using funds earmarked for the Agri-Pinoy Rice and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) programs of the Department of Agriculture.

Hataman’s office has its own Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), which discharges functions devolved by the national office of the department based on the region’s charter, the Republic 9054.

The DAF has dispersed no less than P1 billion worth of farm machineries and other farming inputs to peasant groups in the autonomous region since Hataman was elected regional governor of the autonomous region on May 13, 2013.

Alamia, who is concurrent caretaker of DAF, said the recipients of the agricultural inputs she and Hataman distributed Thursday can seek advice from roving ARMM technicians on how to maximize their rice and corn production the modern way.

“These equipment and tools will boost the productivity of our constituent-farmers,” said Alamia, a human rights lawyer.

Alamia has been overseeing the operations of DAF since last month after the agency’s regional secretary, lawyer Makmod Mending, Jr., filed his candidacy for one of three congressional slots in the Anak Mindanao partylist.

The beneficiaries of the tools and equipment distributed Thursday include the Mindanao State University in Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao, the Al Muizz Farmer and Livelihood Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the Ekssalam Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the Kalumenga Kadtatabanga Farmers Association.

Five other groups, the El-Grande Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the Datu Odin Sinsuat Women’s Producers Cooperative, the Talayan Agri-Farm Industry Marketing Cooperative, the Tunggol Farmers’ Producers Cooperative and the Greenfield Producers Cooperative, also received the same support packages in the presence of ARMM employees.

Hataman and Alamia also led the grant to Moro and non-Moro agrarian reform beneficiaries of certificates of land ownership, facilitated by the office of Regional Secretary Amihilda Sangcopan of the ARMM’s agrarian reform department.

Sangcopan’s office had earlier turned over farm tractors with hauling trailers to different peasant groups in the ARMM provinces.

Thursday’s commemoration of the 26th anniversary of ARMM in Cotabato City was also capped off with free medical and dental services regional health officials extended to 416 children from two orphanages, the Markazul Aytam in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and the Ahliya Center in Cotabato City.

The humanitarian project for the orphans was a joint initiative of Hataman’s office, the regional health department and the ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Relief Team (HEART).

Lawyer Kirby Abdullah, who is helping Hataman and Alamia oversee the operations of the HEART, said he is grateful to the agencies that provided technical and manpower support to their medical and dental missions for the orphans.