Cotabato City, Philippines — The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will double its assistance to Marawi City to P930 million in 2018 from P450 million this year.
Governor Mujiv Hataman said he is hopeful Marawi City will rise from current challenges as rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the city begin. The lessons learned from the crisis, Gov. Hataman said, could lead to new opportunities.
“Ayon sa banal na Qu’ran, Fa inna ma’al ‘usri yusra, ang anumang pagsubok ay laging may kaakibat na ginhawa,” he said. He cited the 2015 Mamasapano incident, which was followed by development initiatives and new opportunities for the town’s residents and those in nearby areas.
The regional government’s Humanitarian and Development Action Plan (HDAP), which was developed in response to the Mamasapano incident, released roughly P2.23 billion for 15 municipalities in Maguindanao as of last year. The plan covers various government projects including, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction to promote peace and alleviate the situation in affected communities.
Hataman said the Marawi crisis could also speed up the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), noting that more legislators will hopefully realize the urgency of such a measure which has received anemic response from many legislators in the past.
He also noted socio-economic efforts that have been aggressively pursued in the region for the past years. The ARMM’s Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (HELPS) program has extended assistance amounting to P4.3 billion to over 400 barangays since 2014. The program is geared towards developing peaceful and progressive communities with each beneficiary barangay receiving P10 million for infrastructure development.
The ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment, (BRIDGE), is another initiative which targets poorest barangays was launched in 2015. It now covers 119 communities with 5,800 family-beneficiaries. The program covers food and shelter, as well as electricity and water supply.
Meanwhile, ARMM’s efforts to uplift the condition of the region’s educational sector succeeded as literacy rate in the region went up to 88.7% in 2015 from 80.3% in 2010, based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Hataman however said that more challenges need to be hurdled, such as ARMM’s 59% average scoring in the National Achievement Test compared with the national passing score of 75%.
Strides were also achieved in the public health sector in recent years. Maternal mortality rate in the region has gone down to 53 per 100,000 live births in 2016 from 65 in 2012. Infant mortality rate also went down in 2016 to 5.81 per 1,000 live births from 7.23 in 2012.
In the agriculture sector, the region remained as the nation’s top producer of white corn and seaweeds. The ARMM distributed 558 units of corn farming machineries, equipment and facilities benefiting close to 20,000 farmers during the Hataman administration.
Support of the regional government to farmers has been consistent notwithstanding its limited resources. From 2012 to 2016, the ARMM has provided 1,823 units of various farm equipment and facilities to 1,662 cooperatives whose membership runs to more than 58,000 farmers.
The governor also cited a significant improvement in the economic condition of fisherfolks in the region based on figures monitored by government agencies. Their average monthly income increased to P7,005 in 2016 from P3,495 in 2014.
Even as sectoral accomplishments were achieved, specific operations of government agencies showed marked improvements. Revenue collection from the Polloc Port in Maguindanao has grown significantly from only P75,194 in 2013 to over P19 million in 2014, and close to P135 million last year.
Private and public investment figures in the region have been excellent despite reports of perceived security threats. From 2012 to present, proposed investments that passed through the Regional Board of Investments total P17.783 billion. As private investments came in, government infrastructure funding for the same period, comprising of 1,900 projects, have reached P26 billion.
The governor also noted the installation of 363 units of water systems in various parts of the region, worth over P2 billion. The regional government also initiated the construction of flood control structures, drainage facilities, and bridges, all amounting to more than P3 billion.
Gov. Hataman underscored the role of local government units (LGUs) in promoting good governance in the ARMM. In 2015, the region passed the good governance conditions set by the national government.
From 16 LGUs in 2015 that passed the Good Financial Housekeeping standards set by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), 63 LGUs were given recognition this year. From six (6) LGUs awarded with the Seal of Good Local Governance by the DILG, the number of awardees has grown to 22.-EZC/ARMM info bureau