ARMM provinces get fisheries, agri transition support grants PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:33

Provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao got more development “bonuses” Monday for local socio-economic thrusts meant to hasten the government’s peace overtures with local Moro communities.

Each of the ARMM provinces received an initial tranche of more than P10 million from the Transition Support Investment Plan (TISP) for local fisheries and agricultural projects meant to improve the lives of farmers and fisherfolks in remote areas in the autonomous region.

The TISP aims to improve living conditions in impoverished communities in the autonomous region in support of Malacañang’s Mindanao peace efforts.

The distribution of checks indicating the amounts released to the provinces by ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman and Regional Agriculture Secretary Maritess Maguindra capped Monday’s meeting in Cotabato City of the Regional Economic Development and Planning Board (REDPB), the region’s socio-economic planning body.

Maguindra said the initial grants released to Governors Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, Mamintal Adiong, Jr., of Lanao del Sur, and to Tawi-Tawi Vice Gov. Hadja Ruby Sahali were only 47 percent of the total agriculture and fisheries TISP package for the autonomous region.

Maguindra said additional grants will again be released as soon as the ARMM government receives the remaining TISP funds from the Department of Budget and Management.

“We ought to thank President Benigno Aquino III and the ARMM leadership for these grants,” Sahali said.

The provinces of Basilan and Sulu, whose governors failed to attend the REDPB meeting due to earlier commitments, are also to receive TISP grants for their respective provincial governments.

Mangudadatu, whose province is a known bastion of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said the projects under the TISP, which also focuses on the improvement of health and social welfare services, is a big boost to his administration’s effort of restoring normalcy and economic stability in Maguindanao towns devastated by armed conflicts and natural calamities.

Maguindanao received an initial P14 million tranche from the ARMM’s agriculture department, while Tawi-Tawi received more than P11 million.

Lanao del Sur, which has a bigger area and covers more than 40 towns, received a bigger tranche, according to Maguindra.

Also launched during Monday’s REDPB meeting here, which Hataman and the region’s planning chief, Bai Intan Adil-Ampatuan presided over jointly, was a new program of the ARMM dubbed “HELPS,” or the convergence of health, education, livelihood, and public services in selected impoverished areas in far-flung towns.

Each of the five ARMM provinces is to start launching next week the projects under HELPS right in villages where they are to be implemented.

Mangudadatu has asked the REDPB, which is comprised of representatives from the executive and legislative branches of ARMM, and officials of various civil society organizations, to launch the HELPS project in his province in Barangay Tubak in Ampatuan town.

Barangay Tubak is home to ethnic non-Moro Teduray communities, which belong to the so-called indigenous peoples, or IPs.

Mangudadatu told members of the REDPB that his office is to build a multi-million road network that will connect Barangay Tubak to at least three  barangays uphill near South Upi town, the gateway to the now booming coastal towns of Lebak and Kalamansig, both in Sultan Kudarat.

Mangudadatu said they will bankroll the road project with local funds from the provincial coffer.

It’s a local project designed to complement President Aquino’s peace process which is focused on giving socio-economic empowerment to people in Maguindanao and other provinces,” Mangudadatu said.

Mangudadatu suggested to the REDPD that the road project and the regional HELPS program be launched simultaneously on January 11 in Barangay Tubak.

Also discussed in the REDPB meeting was how the central office of the Department of Public Works and Highway and the ARMM government can cooperate in addressing constraints brought about by the separate controls by the national government and the local government units of “national” and “municipal roads,” respectively.

Hataman said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson is ready for a dialogue on the issue with regional officials, the five provincial governors of the ARMM, and representatives of the Regional Legislative Assembly.

“But first thing first. We need to have as soon as possible a road mapping system, to be done by provincial engineers and the district offices of the DPWH, for us to have a better view of which are national and municipal roads in the region, and which areas needs to immediately have roads too,” Hataman said.