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First Negosyo Center in ARMM launched in Marawi City

The development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) gets a boost after the provincial government of Lanao del Sur and the Department of  Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the first negosyo center in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The center is located at the TLDC Building in Lanao Peoples' Park, Barangay Datu Saber, this city.

Senator Paolo Benigno ‘’Bam’’ Aquino IV, DTI-ARMM Secretary Anwar Malang, Provincial Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr, Philippine Army 1st Infantry Division Commander BGen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, Mindanao State University (MSU) President Habib Macaayong, and Negosyo Center Manager Jasnia Shiekrashid led the opening of the center on May 19.


Vice Governor Adiong said the Negosyo Center will strengthen the local economy and pave the way for Meranao products to be included in the national market.

"We are very happy that Lanao del Sur is among the recipients of this program. The Negosyo Center provides us a venue to showcase Meranao products and promote our MSMES not just in the neighboring towns but also at the national market," he further said.

Secretary Malang said entrepreneurs who want to know how to start up their businesses, gain access to financing opportunities, and learn financial documentation and bookkeeping can visit the Negosyo Center and ask assistance from its trained counselors and consultants.

The establishment of Negosyo Center is anchored on Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act, authored by Senator Bam Aquino and signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III on July 15, 2014.

Negosyo Centers are responsible for promoting ease of doing business and facilitating MSMEs access to services like business name registration, business advisory services, and business information and advocacy, product development, trade promotion, financing facilitation and investment promotion.


Senator Aquino said that the Go Negosyo Act has established 508 Negosyo Center and supported more than 800,000 entrepreneurs in the last three years.

Aquino hopes that the Negosyo Center will become a centerpiece for volunteerism, convergence, and cooperation to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and provide more job opportunities in the locality.

Our staff will make sure that every Negosyo Center is functioning and providing the right services for our countrymen who are in business, he further said. (APB/PIA-10)

6 towns, 2 hospitals in ARMM receive PCSO ambulance

Six municipalities and two hospitals in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have each received an ambulance last week from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) under its Ambulance Donation Program.

Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, said the ambulance will allow recipient-municipalities and hospitals to better respond to health and other humanitarian emergencies.

The six  muncipalities are Matanog, Barira, Paglat, Sultan Mastura, and Datu Hoffer Ampatuan in Maguindanao, Bacolod-Kalawi in Lanao del Sur while the two hospitals are Basilan General Hospital in Isabela City and Sulu Sanitarium in Jolo, Sulu.

Alamia lauded the said local government units (LGUs) and hospitals for qualifying as recipients and for showing their need and capacity to utilize and maintain the ambulance.

PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said that as of Nov. 2016, the PCSO had already donated a total of 1,503 ambulance units to various beneficiaries such as LGUs, hospitals, health institutions, state universities and other government agencies.

He said the PCSO had allotted about P37.4-billion funds for its ambulance donation program in 2015 and the allocation was increased to approximately P40-billion in the first quarter of 2016.

Balutan said the amount of each ambulance unit is approximately P800,000.00 and the funds for its acquisition come from the PCSO’s responsible gaming services that include the expanded Small Town Lottery (STL), Lotto, Keno, and Sweepstakes.

The PCSO’s small town lottery, he said, is the only legal and authorized numbers game nationwide and it aims to support charitable deeds for the benefits of the people nationwide.

Balutan said the PCSO is eager to do more for the less-fortunate in the region with the help of the ARMM government. (BPI/PIA-10)

ARMM taps Islamic scholars in fight vs terrorism

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)  convened around 300 Ulama (Islamic scholars) from across the country for a three-day summit that aims to explore the role of Muslim scholars and religious leaders in the fight against terrorism. 

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said terrorists use inappropriate interpretations of Islamic principles to strengthen their cause and encourage the commission of vicious acts.

“We urge our Ulama that if we are on the right position, we should move to show what is right, and let’s condemn what is wrong,” he said.

The Philippines ranked 12th among the countries heavily affected by terrorism in the 2016 Global Terrorism Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace, and the presence of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute group, the country’s leading terrorist groups, in at least two of its provinces brings the ARMM at the forefront of the fight against terrorism in the country.

The three-day “Ulama Summit Against Terrorism”, held on May 12-14, is an initial step of the ARMM government to enlist the support of Islamic scholars to combat terrorism.

Hataman said Muslim scholars can contribute to the advocacy against terrorism by educating people about the true teachings of Islam most especially on the principles of justice, compassion, peace and harmony.

The national government considers terrorism as an urgent and critical national security threat.

Sheikh Abdulrahman “Abu Hurayra” Udasan, mufti of the Darul-Ifta Bangsamoro, said that “there should be a distinction between the normative teaching on Islam that is based on the glorious Qur’an and the cultural practices of the Muslims which may or may not be consistent with the normative teaching of Islam.”

He emphasized that Islam means peace “and this can automatically counter terrorism and extremism, because peace in Islam is a key of association not isolation; it is a key of accommodation not marginalization.”

Aside from the Ulama, the summit is also being attended by local and regional government officials, military and police officials, representatives from civil society organizations and the media. (BPI/PIA-10)

Religious leaders in ARMM to tackle terrorism in a summit

Up to 300 ulama from within and outside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are expected to attend an anti-terrorism summit in Cotabato City starting May 12 to 14.   

Dubbed ‘ARMM Ulama Summit Against Terrorism’, the event is initiated by the regional government in cooperation with the region’s ulama and in line with the Duterte administration’s statement that terrorism is an urgent and critical national security threat.   

Governor Mujiv Hataman, as well as religious leaders, underscored that the threat of violence and terrorism could further hamper economic growth in the region. Even as reforms in the ARMM were introduced resulting in initial positive response from investors, recent security-related incidents in some areas could dampen business interest in the entire region.     

The Maute Group’s terror attacks in Lanao del Sur show violent extremism’s new trajectory, compounded further by recent developments such as the Islamic State’s expanding influence outside the Middle East. 

These developments would adversely affect high-impact programs and projects that ARMM has recently introduced all over the region benefiting mostly conflict-affected and low-income communities.   

Ulama leaders have noted that the threat of violent extremism and terrorism is not solely the problem and responsibility of political leaders but of religious leaders as well since many terrorists misrepresent and misuse the Islamic faith to justify violence and terrorism, which tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.   

The ulama emphasized that Islam could not be used to justify violent extremism and terrorism. Re-education is necessary to rediscover the Islamic faith, specifically the principles of justice, compassion, peace and harmony, they added. 

Working with stakeholders to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism is important in this regard.   President Rodrigo R. Duterte leads the list of invited guests and Gov. Hataman will be present during the summit's sessions. 

Others invited to the event are the ambassadors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Singapore, and the United Nations' representative to the Philippines.   Despite the gains due to reforms that have been implemented and institutionalized in the ARMM, there is a continuing challenge when it comes to local security and governance. 

This includes sustainable development which requires an inclusive, comprehensive and sustainable approach.   The ARMM’s experience in campaigns and programs against extremism, as well as the draft communication for peace action plan would also be shared. (BPI/PIA-10) 

ATI holds orientation on T2-ES22PP in Lanao del Sur

Municipal agricultural officers, local chief executives and their representatives and other agricultural development workers from the 39 municipalities here including Marawi City convened at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol, May 9,  for a consultative meeting and orientation on the Tier 2 –Extension Support for the 22 poorest provinces in the Philippines (T2-ES22PP). 

The T2-ES22PP, is an extension support and intervention intended for the 22 provinces in the Philippines that have the highest poverty incidence.   

It is an initiative of DA Secretary Emmanuel PiƱol, implemented through the Agricultural Training institute (ATI), with the twin goal of improving food security and decreasing poverty. It is implemented on top of the regular programs of ATI. 

Azrifa A. Mamutuk, Provincial Supervising Administrative Officer, welcomed the participants and showed gesture of appreciation for the efforts of the ATI-RTC XII and all others present in the meeting , who committed their time in favour of advancing the living condition of the people of Lanao, particularly the marginal farmers. 

During the meeting, ATI-RTC XII Center Director Abdul Dir. Daya-an underscored the importance of identifying need-based high impact projects that can be established in pilot barangays to improve agricultural productivity in the rural areas, where the marginalized farmers reside.

ATI Training Specialist Alicia Rose Nebreja presented a briefer on  ATI-as the apex agency for Agriculture and Fisheries extension Services , and the Tier 2 Program – its implementing guidelines and the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders. A workshop on initial screening of pilot barangays per municipality based on set criteria highlighted the meeting. (DA Lanao del Sur/PIA-10) 

ARMM economic growth rebounds in 2016

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) economy rebounded in 2016 after a slower growth was recorded in the previous year. The region’s gross domestic product (GRDP) last year posted positive 0.3 percent from negative 0.4 percent in 2015. 

These figures were released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which conducted simultaneously media briefings nationwide to present the country’s and the regions’ 2016 economic performance.  

GRDP is a tool to monitor the economic performance of the region. It covers the value of goods and services the region produced over a specific period of time.   

Abubakar Assad, PSA-ARMM regional director, explained that a GRDP rebound means economic activity has improved, in this case from the previous year’s level as monitored by the government. 

Official data showed that the growth was driven by the services sector, which comprises 38.0 percent of the region’s economy.    

The services sector, also referred to as tertiary sector, covers such businesses as transport, storage, and communication; trade and repair of motor vehicles, personal and household goods; financial intermediation; real estate, renting and similar business activities; public administration and defense; compulsory social sector; utilities; and other services.   

The industry sector – or secondary sector – grew 5.7 percent last year from 5.6 percent while agriculture, forestry and fishery – or primary sector – contracted to 56.3 percent from 58.2 percent in 2015.  

 “We are happy to announce that with the given data by the PSA, ARMM’s economy rebounded from the adjusted data of negative 0.4 percent to positive 0.3 percent, or from negative economic performance to positive economic performance,” Engr. Baintan Ampatuan ARMM's planning and development office chief said.   

It was explained that the main reason why the recovery has been slow is because agriculture sector’s contribution to the region’s economy went down, or 56.3 percent last year from 58.2 percent in 2015.   

ARMM remains an agriculture-based economy and output has been affected perennially by extreme weather conditions such as drought and flooding, along with displacements of farmers caused by armed conflicts and calamities.   

Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM's Executive Secretary, noted that new investment in telecommunications is expected this year, which will contribute further to the region’s output in the services sector and should generate new jobs.   

She added that the regional line agencies, as well as the local government units, should help in the proper accounting of services, products and projects in the region to achieve an accurate monitoring of economic activities in line with the objective of reducing poverty incidence.   

“Yes tumaas ang GRDP ng ARMM in 2016, but that doesn’t mean that we are already contented. It doesn’t mean na na-achieve na natin ‘yungtarget natin, if we follow our regional development plan in the past five years, in the coming six years 2022, meron tayong mga targets – targets on reducing the poverty incidence level,” Atty. Alamia said.   

She reiterated the impact of positive economic growth to poverty reduction. 

The ARMM government has implemented various anti-poverty programs in the region, namely Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy, or ARMM-HELPS; Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment, or BRIDGE; and Humanitarian and Development  Assistance Program, or HDAP.   With the bulk of projects in the region, Atty. Alamia reiterated that the region’s economy will continuously grow in the succeeding years. (BPI/PIA-10) 

Masiu farmers join abaca production training

With the growing industry of Abaca production in the country, the Department of Agrarian Reform  (DAR) in the province in partnership with the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority Region (PhilFIDA)-IX gathered more than sixty farmer-beneficiaries from various cooperatives of the Indarapatra Agrarian Community in Masiu town on May 3 for a Training on Sustainable Abaca Production. 

The activity aimed  to introduce to the local farmers the demand and supply situation of abaca industry  as well as its planting and care management. Engr. Mesug P. Unda , Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II of DAR,  talked about the essence and impact of abaca production not just in the socio-economic status of the agrarian partners but also  in the environment as well. 

Alex A. Jaducana, Phil FIDA IX chief of operations, introduced to the local farmers the abaca industry situation, its uses, applications and maximing potentials of investing in abaca farm while Senior Science Research Specialist Ferdinand C. Lazo and Phil FIDA IX Regulatory UnitHead Danilo C. Damiles talked about the Abaca farm care and maintenance and the harvest and post-harvest handling and management, respectively. 

Masiu Mayor Nasser Pangandaman, on the other hand, encouraged the farmers to keep themselves abreast on modern farming by attending trainings and educational field-tour programs. 

"Pud ko kapamgay sa lupa na so mga support services para pkhawmanan so sowa iyo sa kang-gilopa na patot mambo a psoportaan iyo so mga lagid aya a galbuk (distribution of lands are coupled with support services to increase your knowledge and skills in farming so you should cooperate in such activities like this)," said Mayor Pangandaman. 

The 3-day training ended on May 5 with a educational field-tour at the Municipality of Calanogas to let the farmers see the processed fiber and products that can be produced from abaca and at the Municipality of Malabang to visit the abaca plantation of the Matling Cooperative. (Johaniah Yusoph/DAR-LDS/PIA-10)