Moro women build classroom, solar dryers in Maguindanao PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 January 2014 13:08

There is a school building and two solar dryers in a coastal village in Parang, Maguindanao that Moro women constructed the “bayanihan way” with the help of World Bank.

The two classroom building in the Saliguidan Elementary School at Barangay Polloc in Parang is now 78 percent complete and expected to be opened for the use of grade school pupils by the start of the 2014 school year.

Parang is a seaside municipality in the first district of Maguindanao, facing the Moro Gulf.

The school in Polloc has 286 Muslim pupils, whose parents rely mainly on fishing and propagation of Carageenan seaweeds, commonly known as “agal-agal,” which is widely utilized as food, as food additive, or “extender”, and as organic emulsifier for medicines, ice cream and dairy products, and lubricants.

The two solar dryers constructed in Barangay Polloc by ethnic Iranon women, led by Hadjarah Sambolawan Macacua, president of the local people’s organization (PO), are now being used by farmers.

“Women in the barangay had a direct hand in the construction of these facilities. They worked under the heat of the sun, as if real construction workers,” Macacua said.

The projects were implemented as a common endeavor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Social Fund Project (ASFP), the local people’s organization, barangay officials and the local government unit of Parang.

The ASFP is the conduit for projects of the World Bank in the autonomous region.

School principal Maradi Camsa, also an ethnic Iranon, said he himself was amazed with how their women-dominated PO managed to build a school and two solar dryers using funds from the World Bank.

Yehna Ayob, treasurer of Polloc’s PO, said the implementation of the ASFP project in their barangay also provided them the chance to show that they are capable of handling foreign-assisted community projects designed to address poverty and underdevelopment in Moro areas.

The ASFP is one of the special projects of the regional government, which has been helping thousands of impoverished, marginalized ARMM residents.

The ASFP, which started helping rebuild conflict-stricken areas in the autonomous region more than a decade ago, is presently building infrastructures out of a $30 million additional package the World Bank released in 2010.

The ASFP had, as of December 2013, either constructed, or rehabilitated 87 school buildings in the ARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Sayeed Abdullah, the municipal facilitator for ASFP projects in Parang, said he never doubted the capability of the PO in Barangay Polloc to accomplish the World Bank-assisted projects owing to the eagerness of community members to go out and do manual labor just for their children to have a classroom, and for farmers to have two solar dryers.

“There was so much eagerness and volunteerism on their part,” Abdullah said.