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DILG-ARMM launches MASA MASID program

The Department of the Interior and Local Government in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DILG-ARMM) launched last week its community-based MASA MASID program on to empower communities and fortify people’s participation in the war against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality.

MASA MASID, or ‘Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga’ is an initiative aimed at encouraging the communities in the region to take action against all forms of irregularities and illegal activities, especially drug abuse.

The program is a collaborative work involving the Philippine National Police (PNP), provincial and local government officials, village chiefs, religious sectors, civil society groups, and other nongovernmental organizations.

Under DILG Memorandum Circular 2016-116, the program has four main priorities: information and education campaign in communities for government programs against corruption, illegal drugs and criminality; creation of a reporting mechanism on illegal drug-related activities; formulation of community-based rehabilitation programs; and revival of the spirit of volunteerism by creating a volunteer-friendly atmosphere for organizations that wish to be partners for change.

The circular also explains that the existing UBAS’s (Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan) Technical Working Group in local government units (LGUs) shall be expanded and shall be headed by a City or Municipal Local Government Operations Officer, with representatives from a faith-based group, Liga ng Mga Barangay, the PNP, and City or Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council.

The expanded UBAS Technical Working Group shall be responsible in promoting MASA MASID as a mechanism to respond to the needs of their respective LGUs and shall provide technical assistance to the program’s teams in every village.

Barangay MASA MASID teams will be composed of representatives of faith-based organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), nongovernmental organizations, people’s organizations and CSO representative from the Barangay Peace and Order Council and Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council.
Regional data showed that in 2016, there were 15 LGUs with 236 barangays and 7,962 surrenderers targeted for intervention. For this year, another 31 LGUs with 529 barangays and 7,780 surenderers are projected to be covered by the DILG’s initiative.

After the launching of the program, the attendees signed a pledge of commitment for the implementation of the MASA MASID program in their respective areas. (BPI/PIA Lanao del Sur)

Moro consensus group launched

A group of young Moro professionals, civil society organizations leaders, academicians, and students launched a consensus group to compliment the top-level negotiations between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The launching of the Moro Consensus Group (MCG) highlighted the Forum on Federalism and Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) held at the Institute for Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM) in Mindanao State University main campus on February 22.

The group aims to hold series of fora and discussions to ensure broader and active participation in peace building.

MCG Chairman Drieza Lininding noted that while the government is engaging with MILF and MNLF, majority of Bangsamoro have no affiliations in both groups. He said it is important for the majority to be informed, talk among themselves and agree on a consensus that they can rally behind.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, who attended the launching, said Moro youth holds potential role in the development of the region. He stressed that the government should recognize the Bangsamoro history, including their rights, even if the country will adopt or change its political system.

Participants to the forum were also lectured on the economic aspects of federalism and its implications to the Bangsamoro quest for self-determination.

The forum centered on the theme "Union in Diversity: The Way to Justice, the Key to Peace." (PIA Lanao del Sur)

ARMM, provl govt target to remove Lanao del Sur from poorest provinces list

A special cabinet meeting and executive consultation involving top officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and provincial government of Lanao del Sur was held here on February 22 to map out an anti-poverty strategy to remove Lanao del Sur from the list of poorest provinces in the country.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority in the first quarter of 2015 showed that Lanao del Sur was the poorest province in the country with 74.3 percent poverty incidence.

Presided by the ARMM Vice Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., the consultation discussed areas where they could improve and have better focus in the coming months.

Lucman said it was the first in a series of provincial consultations to be conducted by the regional government this year in the five ARMM provinces. 

Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong, Anak Mindanao Representative Atty. Makmod Mending Jr., and the province’s local chief executives were present during the consultation.

Provincial line agency heads also presented their agency accomplishments for 2016 as well as the status of on-going projects.

The Integrated Provincial Health Office reported improvements in health statistics for such as maternal mortality rate which dropped from 81 in 2009 to only five in 2016; decrease in infant mortality rate from four to 1.46;  drop in malnutrition among children from 15.20 percent to 5.65 percent; increase in tuberculosis cure rate to 83 percent and, increase of immunization for children to 86.84 percent, the highest in the region.

Regional Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding said these improvements in the health sector are credited to improved facilities development and increased deployment of health professionals in all the provinces of the region.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, who was present in the consultation meeting, encouraged Department of Agriculture in the province to work on expanding the agriculture coverage and making the province rice sufficient by 2019.

Hataman also urged officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to expedite the bidding process on partner conduit to speed up the payout process of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

The two districts of Lanao del Sur with combined 92,191 program beneficiaries have not received the amounts due them since last year due to the absence of a partner conduit that will serve the beneficiaries.

DSWD-ARMM Assistant Secretary Pombaen Karon Kader said no bidder participated in the last year’s call for a partner conduit, which was the reason why the agency’s central office has not downloaded the program’s funds for the province. 

The Humanitarian Development Action Plan (HDAP) was also discussed as a special program that will cover the conflict-affected town of Butig.

ARMM-HDAP is a program of the regional government under the Hataman administration that implements various government initiatives.

These include relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of both horizontal and vertical infrastructures such as school buildings, houses, health centers, roads and bridges. The program also covers livelihood projects that will promote peace and order and help improve the economic situation in calamity-affected communities. (BPI/PIA Lanao del Sur)

Lanao del Sur drug awareness municipal roll-out kicks off in Piagapo town

Around 200 residents of Piagapo town led by municipal mayor Ali Sumandar, municipal councilors and barangay officials attended  the first municipal anti-illegal drug awareness campaign of the Lanao del Sur provincial government.

The drug awareness municipal roll-out conducted in cooperation with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) aims to support the war against illegal drugs of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

It is an offshoot of the Provincial Anti-Drug Awareness Campaign held last year in Marawi City to help law enforcers fight drug addiction through education and information dissemination in the grassroots level.

Provincial Governor Bedjoria Soraya Alonto Adiong ordered the Provincial Information Office to conduct the program in the 39 municipalities of the province to ensure that everyone in the communities will know the harmful effects of dangerous drugs and the punishment of using and selling them. 

Participants of the symposium were oriented on the ill effects of drug addiction, the legal consequences of being involved in illegal drugs activities, and the role of barangay officials in eradicating this ill menace of society.

PDEA-ARMM Regional Director Bryan Babang and his officers, Malou Camit and Marlon Santos, served as the resource speakers of the symposium.

BRIDGe project to increase business investments in ARMM

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Regional Board of Investments (RBOI) -- Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) recently signed a Memoramdum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize their partnership through BRIDGe Project called “Brokering Business Investments in the Bangsamoro to Achieve Inclusive Development & Growth” at the Manila Liason Office (MLO) of ARMM in Makati City.

The project, funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), aims to increase mutual confidence between business firms and local communities for increased business investments in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

Atty. Ishak V. Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chairperson and managing head lauded the project which is an important move as the province gears up for economic development amid the continuing peace and order situation.

“This is an appropriate project in the nick of time. We are ready to go in the process of realizing the project.  We still have outstanding security issues regarding peace and stability that needs to be resolved up to now. But there has to be some catalyst and these are the things we are trying to do.  There must be a way that business actually benefits the community.  Value chains must be created.  Business investors must have a sense of belongingness as members of the community.  At the same time, you make sure that when you are going into a place, you act as a member of the community and you are here for the people working on the ground,” he said.

It is expected that through this project, a three-tiered change shall be more visible among top key players in the region: a more facilitative RBOI-ARMM that is aggressively promoting investments suitable in the Bangsamoro; local communities that are prepared and capable to engage and partner with investors; and more business firms primed to invest in an area known for its distinctive social, cultural and environmental dynamics.

“Australia has been a long-standing supporter of the peace process in Mindanao.  Since the 1990s, our aid investment in the region supported business, education, government and economic growth.  Sustainable livelihood is essential to brokering peace and prosperity in Muslim Mindanao.  Through BRIDGe, Australia hopes to support business investments in Bangsamoro areas that will lead to peace, progress and stability,” said Australian Embassy Political Counsellor Richard Rodgers.

As project implementor, PBSP’s tasks are to facilitate the creation of a Program Advisory Committee; develop a Technical Assistance Package which shall serve as an information and education module for the promotion of business in ARMM; and set up a Business Sustainability Framework in the Bangsamoro (BSFB) to strengthen RBOI-ARMM’s investment facilitation.

“We at PBSP are very excited to manage this project.  This is really symbolic in what we are trying to achieve such as to bridge investments in ARMM to make it more inclusive and make sure goals and development happen, and at the same time get the different stakeholdres in the area to work together.  We hope to capitalize on each other’s strengths and capabilities,” said PBSP Executive Director Reynaldo Antonio D. Laguda. (PBSP/PIA-10)

Task Force Duterte Lanao Sur Power hits the ground running

Barely a month after Task Force Duterte Lanao Sur Power took over the operations of the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Lasureco), employees of the electric cooperative (EC) are now receiving their salaries on time, as Lasureco Acting General Manager Nordjiana Ducol bared plans to rehabilitate the ailing coop.

“As a result of our active collection activities, we are now able to disburse salaries of our employees without delay. This has led to greater commitment from our people to perform efficiently and unify behind Administrator Masongsong’s thrust for transparency and reform,” Ducol said.

National Electrification Administration (NEA) Chief Edgardo Masongsong activated Task Force Duterte Lanao Sur Power in January this year to review Lasureco’s governance policies and institute needed reforms in the financial, institutional, and technical areas of the EC operations.

Administrator Masongsong said “the Task Force will be on top of reinforcing the vision and mission statements of the coop, as well as obtaining commitment building from EC leaders and other stakeholders to hasten the implementation of rural electrification projects in the province.”

According to Acting GM Ducol, collection revenue of the coop surged to P7 million from February 1 to 15, 2017 billing period, as against the P4 million revenue collected from January 1 to 15 of the same year.

She stressed that the high collection rate of the coop is a result of their regular information dissemination and consumer education campaigns, as well as the ongoing computerization of their billing system.

A quick response team, she said, was likewise formed “to respond to customer complaints and queries within two hours, or as early as possible, and mobilize ground personnel to inspect dilapidated electric poles, overloaded kWh meters, and faulty wiring system.”

Ducol said “all these measures aimed at intensifying our revenue generating capacity have helped us provide better working conditions for our employees and motivate them to be our partners in the rural electrification initiatives.”

According to Administrator Masongsong, “NEA is effecting these reforms not only to boost the morale of the coop’s employees, but ultimately cushion the Member-Consumer-Owners from undue harm brought about by a number of operational challenges that have hounded Lasureco.”

“Through Task Force Duterte Lanao Sur Power, we hope to finally consolidate a good governance platform that will be aligned to the agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte to uplift the lives of the Filipinos, especially the poorest of the poor.” (NEA/PIA-10)