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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ARMM bats for 30% poverty incidence rate in 2019

DAVAO CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will reduce in three years the region’s poverty incidence to 30%, from 53.4% in 2015, through a convergence of several government efforts.

The development plans are rooted in regional priorities and full backing from the national government. Another component of the plan hinges on commitments from ARMM local chief executives drafted during the 3rd ARMM Local Government Summit on November 30 held at SM Lanang Premier’s SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

“Our target is to improve the living conditions of our households para ma-reduce ang poverty,” ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia told local chief executives and other government officials attending the summit.

In the first quarter of 2015, ARMM’s poverty incidence was tracked at 53.4% with Lanao del Sur and Sulu posting 70.2% and 61.8% poverty incidence, respectively. The performance of the regional economy is also on the list for improvement. The growth in gross regional domestic product of the ARMM in 2013 was 3.6%, from only 1.1% in 2012. The figure is projected to improve to 5.6% growth in 2019.

The regional priorities are anchored on six fronts: 
  • agri-fishery development under rural development; 
  • functional LGUs, improved regional government service delivery, and increased people’s participation under good governance at all levels; 
  • anti-terrorism, illegal drugs and crimes under public order and security; 
  • health and nutrition, education, livelihood, water and sanitation, and social welfare and protection under basic services for all; 
  • disaster preparedness, response and rehabilitation and environmental protection and management under climate change adaptation, and disaster resiliency; and, 
  • all components are complemented with infrastructure support.
It should be noted that the ARMM is undertaking several programs to combat poverty and these include ‘Apat na Dapat’ initiative at the household level, and the ARMM-Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and security and Synergy, or HELPS, at the barangay level.

“These two programs are specifically designed to address the roots of poverty,” ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said. The Apat na Dapat started in January 2016, with 600 of the region’s families as beneficiaries. In 2017, about 5,000 families will benefit from the program.

At least P240 million was earmarked for the program’s implementation in 2016. The initiative provides the beneficiaries with basic needs such as food and livelihood training, water and sanitation, shelter, and electricity. Gov. Hataman said the absence of even one of these poses risks to a family.

The ARMM-HELPS, is the banner program of the Office of the Regional Governor that aims at establishing a peaceful and secure environment in the region by providing basic social services in relation to health, education, livelihood, good governance and peace at the barangay level. The program was launched in 2013.

The ARMM has allocated a total of P13.7 billion for poverty alleviation since 2014, including a P4 billion budget for 2017.

The national government’s anti-poverty agenda – Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA) – also focuses on the improvement of economic condition of ARMM constituents and those in other conflict-affected areas in Regions 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 10 (Northern Mindanao) and 12 (Central Mindanao). Billions of pesos were also allotted by the Duterte administration to the CRDA with projects mostly covering areas in the ARMM.

Rosanna Urdaneta, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority national deputy-director general, said President Duterte wants “to bring the programs and services of the national government to the ARMM and conflict-affected areas.”

The CRDA focuses on the eradication of hunger, establishment of potable water systems, provisions of shelters, free college and technical vocational skills training, electrification, health facilities, agricultural development, and job generation to combat employment and underemployment.

The ARMM leadership noted the realization of the region’s development vision demands the participation of the LGUs. “Hindi po nakasalalay lang sa regional government ang effort [to reduce poverty], we need your [LGUs] help to lower the poverty incidence rate,” Sec. Alamia added.

The local chief executives across the region, comprising of 116 town mayors, two city mayors, planning officers and provincial governors, manifested the commitment to reduce poverty incidence. “Ang dami kong nakuha from the summit, sobrang nakaka-inspire ang pagbabagong naganap sa ARMM. It actually boosted my desire na lalo pang galingan ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa aking bayan,” Mayor Arcam Istarul of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan said noting he is now working to achieve for his town the Seal of Good Local Governance.

“We must prove to the entire nation that Mindanaons can perform as well, if not better, than our counterparts in Luzon and Visayas,” Sec. Ismael Sueno of the Department of the Interior and Local Government said. (Bureau of Public Information)

ARMM LGU Summit to serve as model for other regions - DILG Sec. Ismael Sueno

DAVAO CITY - Citing lines from a song, Sec. Ismael Sueno of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shared how he used to feel as a government official from Mindanao. 
"Kami'y mga Muslim lamang, kami'y mga taga-Mindanao lamang," he said. When he was faced with the prospect of leading his political party, he initially questioned if he had what it took to lead at the national level.
Much has changed since then.
A challenge
"This same feeling has become a challenge to many of us," Sueno said.
"We must prove to the entire nation that Mindanaons can perform as well, if not better, than our counterparts in Luzon and Visayas," Sueno said as he addressed local executives from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) attending the 3rd ARMM Local Government Summit held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City.
"Pagkamulat...Pagbabago, Pag-unlad" was the theme for the said event, highlighting the importance of raising awareness about the region. 
Sueno noted the negative perception outsiders have regarding communities in the ARMM. When it comes to discussions about the region, outsiders usually "worry" about governance. But noting reforms in the region in recent years, especially the marked absence of ghost projects, he said that "transparent, accountable, and moral governance" is present in the ARMM.
Cooperation, willpower
The secretary said that cooperation of local executives on peace and order initiatives is perceived by people outside the ARMM as a concern, especially with regard to lawless elements. The national government, however, believes that governors and mayors in the ARMM can face these challenges, Sueno said.
The LGUs, he noted, are strong partners against lawless elements in the region. The national and local government's joint success against lawlessness depends on the "willpower of leaders," Sueno said.
President's plans
Sueno also mentioned that a number of the poorest provinces are found in the ARMM, and that the president wants to help uplift the quality of life in these areas. "If we are to implement projects in ARMM, I will be the project manager in ARMM. Let us implement projects there," Sueno quotes Duterte as saying.
The president has even proposed a trip to Jolo, Sulu to his cabinet members, if only to help dispel negative perceptions on the ARMM.
Sueno said the president insists on pushing through with his scheduled visits in Mindanao and that this is a sign of the president's commitment to the region.
Model for other regions
The DILG has earlier hosted a national event tagged as Sulong Pilipinas: LGU Consultations on Peace and Order, and Social Development. However, Sueno intends to conduct LGU consultations at the regional level and to use the ARMM LGU Summit as a model.
"We have seen Gov. Hataman's sincerity in his desire to conduct this consultation, and how strongly he wants to battle negative perceptions against the ARMM," Sueno said. "We will also do this for other regions."
ARMM leaders vow commitment to development programs
Comprising of 116 municipal mayors, two city mayors, planning officers, five provincial governors and members of the ARMM legislative assembly, they vowed full commitment to the region’s development programs.
Davao City councilor Halila Sudagar, representing city mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio, encouraged the participants to create a positive change in the development of communities in the region.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman opened the summit by speaking of the changes in the region during the past four years. He reiterated that ARMM, for more than two decades, has been left behind by progress.
“Because of stronger LGU and regional government partnership, we changed the negative perception in the ARMM,” Mayor Arcam Istarul, of Tipo-Tipo town in Basilan, said.
Mayor Istarul is a newly elected local chief executive. “Ang dami kong nakuha from the summit, sobrang nakaka-inspire ang pagbabagong naganap sa ARMM. It actually boosted my desire na lalo pang galingan ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa aking bayan,” Mayor Istarul said, noting he is now working to achieve for his town the Seal of Good Local Governance.
“Binago natin sa loob ng apat na taon ang negatibong imahe ng ARMM,” Gov. Hataman said. This year alone, there are already six Seal of Good Local Governance awardees in the region. “Patunayan natin na ang ARMM sa nakaraang dalawang dekada ay iba na ngayon,” the governor said as he challenged the local government units to also pass the Seal of Good Housekeeping. Over 50% of the towns in the region have earned the Seal of Good Housekeeping. 
During his speech, Secretary Ismael Sueno of the Department of the Interior Local Government described the summit as a gathering of ARMM LGU heads to discuss solutions to challenges facing the region. “Let us all erase those negative perceptions in the region, ipakita natin na kaya din mamuno ng ARMM,” Sec. Sueno said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, when he visited the ARMM’s seat recently, said he will personally attend to the needs of the region and that he will improve the Moro land. 
“Matindi ang passion ni President Duterte sa ARMM,” Secretary Sueno said.
Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, discussed the region’s development framework. She also told the participants that the programs should go down to the grassroots level. “Before 2012, the ARMM faced many difficulties. The region was tagged as the election cheating capital of the country, no monitoring of projects, no program funds, and palakasan system in the hiring of employees,” Atty. Alamia said.
Hery Siraji, municipal planning and development coordinator of Luuk town in Sulu, said that the summit inspires every participant to strive and continue to work for the development of the communities in the region.
The participants also held a dialogue with national government agencies. “I hope this summit will be a successful one and after we fully implement the projects and programs for the people in the region, ARMM will (no longer be) the poorest region,” Sec. Sueno said. (Bureau of Public Information)

Duterte visits wounded troops in Marawi City despite attack on presidential guards

MARAWI CITY – President Duterte on Wednesday visited wounded troops in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur province where security forces were battling hundreds of jihadists whose group is tied to the Islamic State.
His visit came a day after jihadists detonated a roadside bomb and attacked a convoy of presidential guards was passing the area and wounded at least 7 of them. The guards were part of Duterte’s advance security team and heading to the army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade when jihadists attacked them. 
Duterte met closed door with top security officials inside the tightly guarded 103rd Infantry Brigade headquarters and was briefed by the military on the on-going operations against the group of jihadist leader Abdullah Maute that occupied Butig town and hoisted ISIS flags there.
He also spoke with troops and encouraged them “to persevere and do their work with the guarantee of his all-out support.”
Duterte told soldiers that his priority is the welfare of all the people and the entire nation and “very much wants peace to reign all over the land, but not at the expense of peace loving citizens.” Following the visit, the president went to Cagayan de Oro and also visited and pinned medals to wounded soldiers
Military propagandists claimed that 61 jihadists had been killed and about a dozen more wounded since the battle began this week in Butig town. At least 35 government soldiers were confirmed injured in the clashes. 
Duterte earlier said he wanted to talk peace with the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf rebels in an effort to put a stop to ransom kidnappings, terrorism and deadly clashes in the troubled region. 
“Pati Abu Sayyaf, I’m ready to talk to them. I’m ready to open the borders. I’m ready to talk about opening the borders down south, no problem – Kasi may trade pa noon, wala masyadong gulo noon. We cannot be forever treating human beings here, seriously wounded. Let us talk. Let us give our people a chance.”
“I can bomb more if I want to. At the end of the day, what can I say to the Filipino? That we have wiped out almost all of our Yakan, Sama, Tausug brothers? Even those not connected with the violence now? Either we talk, if you want autonomy or if you want something else, federalism, I am ready. I am committed to federalism set-up to appease the Moro,” he said.
But there were no indications that the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups are interested in peace talks with Duterte.
On Wednesday, security officials said government troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf rebels and killing one of them on Capual Island off the southern Sulu town of Omar in the restive Muslim autonomous region. 
Soldiers recovered the body of the slain rebel, including three motorboats, an automatic rifle and an improvised explosive following the Tuesday fighting between members of the 11th Scout Rangers and the notorious group tied to the Islamic State.
There were no reports of casualties from the military side. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Korea opens honorary consulate in Davao City, appoints local entrepreneur as consul

 Korean Ambassador Jae-shin KIM with Honorary Consul Edgard Ang and other guests.
 Korean Ambassador Jae-shin KIM with Davao City Mayor Sarah Carpio.
Korean Ambassador Jae-shin KIM with Honorary Consul Edgard Ang.

DAVAO CITY – The Korean government has opened an honorary consulate in Davao City in southern Philippines and appointed a local businessman Edgard Ang as its honorary consul.
The 64-year old Ang is a native of Davao City and runs a variety of businesses, including automotive dealerships and fertilizer trading.
Korean Ambassador Jae-shin KIM personally led the opening ceremony held on November 24 and was attended by Davao City Mayor Sarah Carpio and Jerril Santos, Chief of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs; and Janet Lopoz, Executive Director of Mindanao Development Authority, among others.
In his speech, KIM asked the newly appointed Consul for his dedication to bilateral cooperation between Korea and the Philippines, acting as a link between the two countries. In turn, Ang swore that he would perform his duties in good faith and with sincerity for the best interests of Korea and do his utmost to promote the Korea-Philippines relations. (Mindanao Examiner)

ARMM to hold 3rd LGU summit in Davao City

DAVAO CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will conduct the 3rd Local Government Unit (LGU) Summit geared towards regional development from November 30 to December 1 in Davao City.
 
Sharifa Pearlsia A. Dans, assistant regional secretary of the ARMM’s Interior and Local Government department (DILG-ARMM) said President Rodrigo Duterte will be the summit’s guest of honor. “President Duterte, during his visit here at the region’s seat, reiterated that he will personally handle the ARMM,” Dans said.
 
A total of 116 municipal mayors with their planning officers, two city mayors, five provincial governors, and members of the 9th regional legislative assembly are expected to participate in the two-day summit.
 
To be held in coordination with the DILG national office, this year’s summit carries the theme “Pagkamulat, Pagbabago, Pag-Unlad”. 
 
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City is expected to be present during the summit's opening program. “The two-day event is actually a development summit, the activities which are dialogues and workshops are geared towards development,” Dans said.
 
The summit will be a venue to facilitate dialogue on current issues at the local level and secure the commitment of the LGUs in improving or scaling up their good governance standing and eventually to initiate plans for national and regional programs prioritization.
 
To set the tone of the summit on the first day, ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia will discuss the region’s development framework, followed by the state of local governance that will be delivered by DILG-ARMM Secretary Atty. Noor Hafizullah Abdullah.
 
There will also be a presentation of ARMM and Local Development Investment Program for the year 2017 as well as workshops on priority programs, activities, and projects. 

Local chief executives will also have dialogues with officials of national government agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
 
President Duterte and DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno are expected to be present on the second day of the summit. The President, as the guest of honor, will deliver his keynote address.
 
“Since it is the first time that the president is handling the ARMM, we look forward to more local chief executives who would be aligned with the administration in terms of development,” Dans said. (Bureau of Public Information)