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Inspiring Stories

ARMM teachers all set for opening of classes

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 29 (PIA) --- Teachers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are 100 percent ready for the incoming school year, 2015-2016.

DepEd-ARMM Secretary Dr. John Magno said school heads and teachers in the region have already been reminded on what they must do to ensure orderly opening of classes next week.

There are around 27,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel in the region.

‘Oplan Balik Eskwela,’ an annual drive to prepare for the school opening was earlier conducted in the region. It aims at ensuring that students are properly enrolled and are able to attend school when their classes start.

Per DepEd Order No. 9, s. 2015, the school year will consist of 201 school days, inclusive of the five-day in-service training break. The school year for 2015-2016 begins on June 1 and will end on April 1, 2016.

Zainudin Dalgan, school head of Hji. Salik Kalaing National High School said despite the January 25, 2015 incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, teachers in his area are all prepared for the incoming school year.

He added DepEd wants the children of Mamasapano to learn a lot to achieve their dreams and help their community.

In Basilan, teachers exert extra effort to bring back children to school.

“As the head of the school, I and the teachers of Upper Taberlongan, had house-to-house approach in encouraging the students to go to school,” said Kamrie Tadjah, teacher-in-charge of Upper Taberlongan Elementary School in Maluso, Basilan.

As of May 27, about 300 students have enrolled in Upper Taberlongan and more enrollees are expected in the coming days.

“Attendance is an important factor in school success, so we planned more extra-curricular activities to prevent absenteeism,” Tadjah added.

The ARMM's Education department will also work in addressing the problem of flooded schools in the region especially in the province of Maguindanao.

Bai Tina D. Husin, Grade 2 teacher of Balong Elementary School in Kabuntalan, Maguindanao, said that in case of natural calamities, the plan is to have make-up classes to compensate for the school days lost. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


ARMM proposes P833 million worth of projects under PRDP

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 29 (PIA) --- The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is pushing for the inclusion of roughly P833 million worth of projects into the budget of the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Makmod Mending, ARMM’s Agriculture and Fisheries Secretary and Regional Program Advisory Board (RPAB) chairman said the board’s members approved the infrastructure and enterprise development projects for three ARMM provinces, specifically, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.

“Nag-convene ang members ng board para ma-screen at ma-approve ang mga proposal for ARMM para maipasa sa Mindanao at national board at mapondohan na rin (The RPAB board members convened to screen and approve the proposals for funding by the national board),” Sec. Mending said.

Six farm to market roads in the province of Tawi-Tawi amounting to more than P246 million and eight similar projects in Maguindanao amounting to more than P459 million comprise the approved projects under the infrastructure development component of PRDP.

Sec. Mending added, the infrastructure development component aims at improving the links from production areas to markets to enhance the efficiency of transporting agricultural products.

A crumb rubber processing and marketing project in Basilan amounting to over P127 million was approved under the enterprise development component.

“The rubber processing plant in Basilan will help in regulating the price of rubber in the region and will generate employment in the processing plant and in buying stations,” Sec. Mending said.

The above-mentioned projects will roll out after deliberation and approval of the PRDP’s National Program Advisory Board (NPAB) this year. The first farm-to-market road project under the program was constructed in Talayan, Maguindanao with 12.3 kilometers traversing five barangays.

The PRDP is an upscale program of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) that ended five years ago. The six-year rural development initiative is under the Department of Agriculture. It has a total budget of P27.5 billion with project cost shared by the national government, the World Bank and local government units.

“Because of the success of MRDP, ipinagpatuloy ng national government ito. Ang ginawa nila, buong Pilipinas na ang coverage at ito na ang PRDP (Because of the MRDP’s success, the national government decided to launch a similar program – the PRDP – but with nationwide coverage),” Sec. Mending said. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


Infra projects worth P77 million in Mamasapano soon to be completed

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 29 (PIA) --  A total of P77 million worth of infrastructure projects funded by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao are nearing completion and will be inaugurated as early as next month, an official from the region’s Department of Public Works and Highways said. 

James Mlok, head engineer of Maguindanao’s 2nd District Engineering Office, said the ongoing projects include the 120-meter steel bridge and 880-meter access road worth P17.5 million, nine school buildings with a combined worth of P44.397 million, water sanitation structures, a farm-to-market road and a mosque.

The steel bridge is set to replace the run-down, wooden footbridge found at the site of the infamous January 25clash in Barangay Tukanalipao. Mlok said the structure dubbed as the “bridge of peace” will be completed by next month.

He said the bridge and the road project will be fully operational by the end of June. The projects also include the P3.5 million renovation of the Hadji Salik National High School, the secondary school located in Barangay Tukanalipao.

The infrastructure projects were started in March this year with ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, the region’s Public Works Secretary Emil Sadain, and officials from the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division leading the groundbreaking ceremonies.

Gov. Hataman said the military has shown that it is supportive of the Mindanao peace process through active involvement in the implementation of the projects.

The Army’s engineering battalion is undertaking the construction of a P1 million worth mosque in the area.

Mlok said most of the infrastructures will be finished on schedule. He appealed to local barangay officials to help facilitate the successful implementation of the projects. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


ARMM holds 1st Successful Cooperatives Congress

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 26 (PIA) --- The Cooperative Development Authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CDA-ARMM) launched on May 25, the 1st ARMM Successful Cooperatives Congress to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives in the region.

Dimnatang Radia, CDA-ARMM administrator, said successful cooperatives presented their best practices – specifically new management techniques, good governance and entrepreneurial activities – to newly established cooperatives.

“The 1st ARMM Successful Cooperatives Congress formed part of the benchmarking program of the CDA-ARMM to enable small and micro cooperatives to be inspired by the best practices of the successful ones,” Radia said, noting that many cooperatives in the region have struggled to uplift their members’ economic status.

“With their unyielding conviction, hard work, and determination, some of these cooperatives surpassed their goals and have become millionaires,” he said.

The CDA-ARMM has registered around 4,600 cooperatives from 2010-2014, the highest number among regions in the country.

Orlando Ravanera, CDA national chairman, said the cooperatives are the way to end poverty. “With the promotion of cooperatives as instruments for equity, social justice, and economic development, we can end poverty that besets the region,” Ravanera said.

Data show more than 12,000 cooperatives are registered in Mindanao with P150 billion worth of assets. 

During the two-day event, partners of the cooperative movement at the local, national and international levels also shared their respective programs, projects and services that the region’s cooperatives may avail of.

These partners included international agencies such as the World Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as national partners led by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

The congress also served as a venue to showcase the services and goods of ARMM’s successful cooperatives.

About 200 participants from the five provinces of the region – Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi – participated in the two-day activity. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)


ARMM seaports hits P5.5 million in revenue in first semester

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 26 (PIA) --- A record-high of P5.5 million in total revenue collection was reported by the Regional Ports and Management Authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RPMA-ARMM) for the first half of the year, higher by 12 percent over last year’s P4.9 million revenues from port operations.

RPMA-ARMM General Manager Hanie Bud said the region’s total port revenue collection last year was tracked at P12 million, the highest since 2010. 

Revenue remittances of RPMA-ARMM started to increase significantly in 2013 and based on the present trend of collections, we are confident that we will exceed the P12 million target for this year, he said.

RPMA-ARMM operates the base ports in Jolo, Sulu; Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; and Lamitan City, Basilan, as well as the sub-ports in Siasi in Sulu, Maluso in Basilan, and Mapun, Sitangkai and Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi. It also exercises regulatory powers in six private ports/wharves in the region.

The Port Management Office of Jolo is the region’s primary port.

Despite a budget of only P120,000 monthly operating and other expenses, the PMO implemented three port improvement projects last year. 

This included steel fencing of the right wing of the port (P44,308), renovation of collection booth number 2 at Serantes Street (P6,174), and repair of the administrative building gate (P5,241).

PMO Jolo also procured chairs, ceiling fans, furniture and equipment, supplies and uniforms, and spent for utilities that cost P66,930.

“The port’s physical improvements are aimed at improving better port services and security,” said Ibnohasim Undug, port manager of PMO Jolo. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


New ARMM education secretary assumes office, vows to secure reforms

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 26 (PIA) --- Dr. John Magno has formally assumed as the new Education Secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on May 25, following his appointment by Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman. 

Magno, who previously served as assistant secretary for operation of the region’s Department of Education (DepEd), vowed to continue the reforms that have been introduced by the present ARMM administration in the department.

A status message he posted on his social media account after words of his appointment came out, reads: “No profession can be nobler than that of teaching. The humble teacher may be forgotten in time but never in the legacy he leaves: the formation of professionals who shape the nation and chart the future of the many generations to come.”

Magno replaced lawyer Jamar Kulayan, who has formally resigned as ARMM Education Secretary on 22 May, ending a three-year tenure marked by administrative and financial reforms in the once problematic agency.

In a published statement, Kulayan said his resignation was a well thought-out decision based on his desire to be with his family whom he had spent very limited quality time with since he dedicated to serve along with Gov. Hataman.

Kulayan played a key role in the crackdown of the Hataman administration against all sorts of “ghosts” in the agency – students, teachers and schools.

He has also helped championed the restoration of the rights and benefits of around 26,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel of DepEd-ARMM from the state-pension fund GSIS through a tripartite agreement that established the settling of close to P1 billion unpaid premiums.

Kulayan described his time in office as “filled with lessons shared and learned and encouraging stories of people whose lives changed for the better.”

He said he is not abandoning public service and vowed to continue serving the people of ARMM and supporting Hataman in his personal capacity.”

Gov. Hataman has also appointed Sittie Mariam Ibrahim Balahim as the new Assistant Secretary for Operation and Marjuni Maddi as Assistant Secretary for Academics. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


No tuition fee increase in colleges and universities in ARMM

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 25 (PIA) --- There will be no tuition fee increase this coming school year in private colleges and universities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“Academic institutions in the ARMM preferred not to increase their tuition fees because they want the parents in our region to send their children to college,” said Commission on Higher Education (CHED) ARMM Commissioner Amor Pendaliday.

He said that with no tuition fee hike in ARMM, more enrollees are expected this year.

On May 19, 2015, applications for tuition and other fees increase by 313 higher educational institutions in the country were approved by CHED national. In a statement released by the commission, an average increase of 6.17 percent, or the equivalent of P29.86 per unit, was approved on tuition fee adjustment, while for other school fees, the increase is 6.55 percent, or an equivalent of P135.60.

These figures are down from last year’s P35.66, or 8.13 percent for tuition, and P141.55, or 7.97%, for other school fees.

“We are glad that we don't have a tuition fee increase, it is good news for us, especially to our parents, ” said 17 year-old Sittie Aisha Tawal, a second year college student of Mindanao State University-Dalican in Maguindanao.

As of date, the region has 66 higher education institutions, 51 private and 15 government-run.

On the latest list of the online directory of colleges and universities in the Philippines (, the Mindanao State University campuses in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Marawi are among the 50 most affordable institutions in the country for 2015. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


ARMM farmers, fishermen’s cooperatives receive assistance from DAF-ARMM

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 25 (PIA) --- The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) distributed P1.8 million-worth of equipment and inputs to pre-identified farmers’ and fishermen’s cooperatives in Maguindanao on Friday, May 22.

Makmod Mending, DAF-ARMM’s agriculture and fisheries secretary, said the distribution is aimed at supporting the production of agricultural crops in the region, especially rice and corn.

“Malaking tulong ito sa ating mga magsasaka. Inaasahan natin na tataas ang production ng ating mga farmers sa ARMM dahil sa naipamigay nating mga farm machineries. (This would be of big help to our farmers. We expect their productivity to improve with these machineries),” Sec. Mending said.

The machineries include one unit corn mill, two units of hand tractor, a thresher, a seed cleaner, five units of floating tiller and 18 units of rice cutter. Thirty one cooperatives received the machineries amounting to P1, 835, 974.

The department also distributed hybrid palay seeds with fertilizers and pesticides to 2,461 farmers while 25 fisheries cooperatives received 1,500 kilograms of seaweed implements each.

Apart from these, a Community Trading Post, which will serve as a community-based food depot and distribution system, was provided for use of 13 cooperatives with assistance from the ARMM’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan project.
Sec. Mending said the trading post is aimed at making “available and accessible quality products such as fresh agri-fishery at low prices to the marginalized sector of the community.”

The trading post, Sec. Mending added, “can empower the community by creating employment opportunities through establishment of small food packaging and food processing center.” The trading post includes a generator set, a freezer, a cooler and other materials needed in the business operations.

The distribution was part of the department’s celebration of the 2015 Farmers and Fisherfolks Month and 24th Devolution Anniversary. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/PIA-10)


DAR Lanao holds 1st agrarian reform beneficiaries conference

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 22 (PIA) --- More than 600 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) from various Agrarian Reform Communities here joined the 1st ARB Provincial Conference on May 21.

In line with the theme "Dalisay na Repormang Pansakahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan, Para sa Kapayapaan," the event highlighted the support and commitments of all the various stakeholders to uplift the income and lives of the farmer beneficiaries in the entire province.

Engr. Mesug P. Unda, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II, expressed his gratitude to the local government units and stakeholders and at the same time solicited their commitments and services for the ARBs.

He encouraged all the farmers to continue doing more citing that the conference "is just the beginning of DAR and other offices' tighter and stronger collaboration in delivering programs and services to the beneficiaries."

He also shared the synopsis and process of ARB Pulong pulong which gave them the opportunity to know and hear the ARBs' PINCs (Problems, Issues, Needs and Concerns), strengths and weakness which they hope to provide solutions.

The ARB conference in the five main provinces of ARMM is one of the programs of DAR - ARMM spearheaded by Secretary Amihilda Sangcopan to strengthen the partnership of the farmer beneficiaries and their agency.

The activity was witnessed by some Municipal Mayors, NGOs and heads of line agencies in the province.

Herman Ongkiko, DAR Undersecretary for Foreign Assisted and Special projects, commended the DAR Lanao Sur for having successfully conducted series of ARB Pulong-pulong. "Rest assured the outputs are taken seriously and we need to do prioritizations first," he said

To officially get the commitments of stakeholders, a symbolic manifesto of support for the implementation of agrarian reform and sustainable development in this province was signed by all the heads of agencies and municipalities who were around. (PIA-10)


Mock cultural villages showcasing ARMM’s major tribes to re-open in June

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 22 (PIA) --- The mock cultural villages that showcased the seven major tribes of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be re-opened on June 10 at the regional government’s compound in Cotabato City.

These cultural villages first opened to the public in November last year as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of ARMM. It was viewed by at least 100,000 visitors from different provinces in Mindanao not just from the ARMM.
The seven major tribes covered in this event are Maguindanaon, Tausug, Sama, Maranao, Yakan, Iranon, and Teduray.

Each village will feature traditional living, culture and arts, and would depict the people and their products on a landscape consistent with those of tribal communities in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

The villages will be open to the general public for 100 days, specifically during the month of Ramadhan. There will also be a series of activities and entertainment in the regional government’s compound to be spearheaded by different regional agencies.
“Ang pagbubukas muli ng cultural villages ay para maipamahagi, maintindihan at lalong maunawaan ng ating mga mamamayan ang kultura, kasaysayan at pamumuhay ng mga tao sa iba’t ibang probinsya ng ARMM (The reopening of the cultutral villages will allow the people to understand better the culture, history, and way of living in various provinces in the region,” said Tourism Secretary Marites Maguindra. 
“We added additional healthy living activities, which the people can join like zumba, ‘hataw’ and yoga,” she said.
Aside from these, there will also be a free tour, a children’s day, and an indigenous arts and handicraft exhibit, among others.
A competition among participating tribes and their villages is also part of the event wherein the winning village would be announced during the closing program, or after 100 days. 
The Tausug village was recognized as the best in last year’s event.

The re-opening of the mock villages will bear the theme “100 Days of Journey in understanding the culture and history of the Bangsamoro towards peace and development.” (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)


DILG ARMM launches “Oplan Listo”

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 22 (PIA) --- The Department of the Interior and Local Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DILG-ARMM) has launched its disaster preparedness program, dubbed “Oplan Listo,” aimed at improving the region’s immediate response to natural and man-made calamities, including armed conflicts.

Oplan Listo is a disaster preparedness program of the DILG provided under Republic Act 10121. It is basically an orientation drive on local government units (LGUs) on what to do in times of calamities.

Anwar Malang, ARMM Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, said the orientation campaign will be replicated to cater not only to LGUs but also to civil society organizations, and the youth, including that out-of-school, in the entire region.

Sec. Malang also said that his department has already started rolling out the same campaign in the island provinces as well as in Maguindanao.

Recently, the DILG distributed disaster preparedness manuals, which will serve as a guide for LGUs in planning responses to incoming disasters as well as in formulating disaster preparedness plans that will assist them in knowing what to do and how to meet the minimum levels of readiness.

The manual contains a checklist of actions necessary to be taken accordingly by Municipal Local Government Operations Officers, Mayors, Chief of Police and Fire Marshalls in case of disasters. It also provides appropriate steps in order to avoid preparation mistakes during disasters.

Although ARMM hardly experiences strong typhoons, the region is still very vulnerable to other disasters such as flooding, drought, change in temperature, and conflicts among others.

Sec. Malang, however, encourages LGUs to do more, beyond what is within the manual depending on the context and conditions.

“We advise them to make careful disaster planning based on local hazard and risk maps to help them be hundred percent ready and not entirely dependent on the disaster manual,” he said. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)


ARMM ready to respond to calamities

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 22 (PIA) --- The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is ready to respond to natural and man-made calamities that may occur, according to ARMM – Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (HEART) director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Ramil Masukat.

Recently, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said a magnitude 7.2 earthquake might hit the Philippines anytime particularly in Metro Manila.

Masukat said that since calamities like earthquake is unpredictable, its effects might also be felt in other regions in the archipelago. He added that the agency is already conducting activities that will prepare ARMM’s local government units if such calamities strike.

“Capacity building is the first step in calamity and disaster preparation. Thus, besides the regular capacity building for our rescue team, we will also conduct earthquake drills in selected offices and schools within the region,” he said.

The ARMM-HEART Operation Center located in Cotabato City has installed an Earthquake Intensity Meter to monitor 24/7 earthquakes occurring in Cotabato City, Maguindanao, and nearby towns.

The same equipment was also installed in the province of Tawi-Tawi.

 The Earthquake Intensity Meter measures and displays the seismic scale should an earthquake occurs. It also records and stores various data that are associated with the earthquake.

Masukat, meanwhile, said residents in the region should not be afraid and instead equip themselves with the knowledge on what to do in case such calamities occur in the region. Preparation is the best way to survive any calamity, he said.

He also encouraged ARMM constituents to always listen to the radio, the most common media channel in the region, for updates and to have basic emergency kits ready, which include flashlight, batteries, medicines, water and food among others.

The last time ARMM experienced a high-intensity earthquake was on August 16, 1976 when some parts of Maguindanao and Sulu were hit by a magnitude 8.0 earthquake that killed at least 5,000 people. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)

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DepED-ARMM corrects teachers’ salaries

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 22 (PIA) -- The Department of Education of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DepED-ARMM) will implement adjustments to correct salaries of teachers of the region who were either ‘underpaid’ or ‘overpaid,’ an official said.

Jamar Kulayan, DepED-ARMM Secretary, said more than 9,000 teachers will benefit from the salary adjustments that will take effect this month.

“We are issuing notices to more than 9,000 teachers in the region, 6,541 will be notified that they will be receiving a salary increase this month but 2,528 will be receiving lesser amounts next month,” Sec. Kulayan said.

The agency already reviewed the payrolls and had corrected the discrepancies.

“We have discovered that 6,541 teachers in the region are getting less than what they are supposed to receive from the government because their step increments have never been adjusted based on their position, salary grade and length of service,” he said.

“What’s striking is we have more than 2,000 teachers who are receiving more than their actual salary,” he added.

A teacher shall be given an additional step increment for every three years of service,  Sec. Kulayan clarified.

“If you are a newly hired teacher, your salary grade is 11 and you will start from step 1. After three years of meritorious service, your step increment will be adjusted to step 2,” he said.

Sec. Kulayan said the problem is rooted on poor management of step increments in the past.

With this action taken, the Education secretary added that the teachers will be paid with their corrected salaries and with the corrected step. The next adjustment on step increment, he said, shall be made three years after.

The adjustments, Sec. Kulayan said, was conducted “to avoid problems in the future” and in preparation for the incoming transition to the Bangsamoro government. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)


DAR-ARMM works on distribution of individual land titles to beneficiaries/view

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 20 (PIA) --- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAR-ARMM) is working on subdividing landholdings with collective certificates of land ownership in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in response to concerns of farmer-beneficiaries in those areas.

The collective certificate of land ownership is one of the most pressing issues raised by farmer-beneficiaries during agrarian reform beneficiaries’ conferences in the three provinces. Other concerns raised were the need for additional infrastructure support.

Collective land ownership is a case wherein only a single land certificate is provided to several farmer-beneficiaries.

Secretary Amihilda Sangcopan of DAR-ARMM said her office has already contacted agrarian reform provincial offices to work on the subdivision of collective landholdings.

“We have instructed our provincial offices to prioritize landholdings with collective certificates of land ownership for us to redistribute the soonest the individual certificates of land ownership to our farmer-beneficiaries,” she said.

The regional agrarian reform department also created a special bids and awards committee to address the bidding and procurement requirements of its provincial offices since subdividing certificates of collective land ownership requires a long process, she said.

The agrarian reform beneficiaries’ provincial conferences in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi were held on April 24 to 25, May 7 and May 14, respectively. Approximately 800 farmer-beneficiaries attended these conferences.

Meanwhile, similar events for the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao will be held on May 21 and 27, respectively.

Director Sangcopan said these conferences will boost agrarian reform beneficiaries’ access to appropriate support services that they need. She added that it will also strengthen the partnership of the agency and the beneficiaries in implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

DAR is the lead agency in the implementation of CARP, which is aimed at improving land tenure, installing agrarian justice, and ensuring efficient delivery of essential support services to program beneficiaries. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)


Top high school graduates in ARMM receive scholarship grants

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, May 21 (PIA) --- The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be providing scholarships to top high school graduates in the region starting June 2015 as part of the regional government’s educational assistance to deserving youths.

John Louie Balagot, regional governor Mujiv S. Hataman’s deputy executive secretary, said all valedictorian high school graduates from public and private schools  in the region are eligible to avail of the ARMM’s Academic Investment for Muslim Mindanao (AIMM) scholarship.

More than 400 top graduates are expected to benefit from the scholarship program this coming academic year.

“Ang gusto ng ating Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman ay mabigyan ng direct assistance ang ating mga deserving na kababayan to ensure their college schooling (Gov. Mujiv S. Hataman wants direct assistance extended to deserving students to ensure their college education),” Balagot said.

Norombai Utto, 17, class valedictorian of Hadji Salik Kalaing National High School was in the first batch of recipients of AIMM scholarship. Utto, who lives with her aunt due to financial constraints, will receive P10,000 every semester for four years in college.

Planning to take Bachelor of Science in Education at the Mindanao State University (MSU) – Maguindanao, she expressed gratitude for the scholarship granted by the ARMM government.

“Malaking tulong po talaga sa aming pamilya ang scholarship na binigay ni Governor Hataman (The scholarship made possible by Gov. Hataman is of great help to us),” she said.

Utto added she will strive more as a scholar in response to the regional government’s support for her college education.

Meanwhile, ISKOLAR – the flagship scholarship program of the regional government that started in 2012 continues to provide educational assistance to 593 beneficiaries.

Full-merit undergraduate scholars numbering 234, and half-merit scholars, now at 302, receive P10,000 and P5,000, respectively, every semester to defray their expenses. Assistance amounting to P10,000 is also given to 57 graduate degree program beneficiaries.

“We are doing our best in order to provide assistance to our constituents,” Balagot said. He emphasized the scholarship program’s benefits entail responsibilities and compliance with requirements by the beneficiaries for timely and full enjoyment of their scholarships.

“We would like to underscore that this program is a partnership between the ARMM government and the students themselves. We are monitoring their performance from time to time,” Balagot added.

A memorandum of agreement has to be signed by the scholars “because we also want them to be responsible,” he said. (Bureau of Public Information-ARMM/APB/PIA-10)