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NAPC to Help Reduce Poverty Incidence in BARMM Inbox

July 9, 2019

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur  -The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) vowed to help the Bangsamoro Government reduce poverty incidence in the region.   NAPC Secretary Noel Felongco said they will gather local chief executives, planning officers, and BARMM ministers to orient them on the Commission’s poverty alleviation projects. NAPC will roll-out a five-year development plan (2019-2023) dubbed the Sambayanihan Serbisyong Sambayanan to deliver basic social services prioritizing the poorest communities. It aims to help attain the administration’s poverty reduction target and contribute to the realization of the AmBisyon Natin 2040. Felongco said the national government  seeks “to accelerate the country’s economic engine and reduce overall poverty incidence from 21 percent in 2015 to 14 percent by 2023.” Communities in the Bangsamoro autonomous region are among the NAPC’s Sambayanihan priority areas. “We will ensure that all basic needs are accessible in BARMM,” he added. Derived from the unifying themes of the calls of the basic sectors at the National Anti-Poverty Sectoral Summit in 2016, the ten basic needs of Filipinos are food and land reform, water, shelter, work, health, education, social protection, healthy environment, peace, and participation.   The agency will also prioritize five key issues in the region such as peace and order, increasing inflation rate related to agriculture and fisheries, lack of inter-agency collaboration, inadequate community participation, and climate change. “Majority of the population in BARMM are farmers and fishermen. If we can improve agriculture and fisheries, we can reduce poverty incidence,” Abdullah Cusain, BARMM assistant executive secretary said. In 2018, BARMM’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) posted 7.2 percent growth rate in which the sectors of agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing remained the largest share in the region’s total economic performance

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JICA Presents CCDP Final Report for Bangsamoro

July 9, 2019

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur -The Japan International Cooperation Agency met with the key officials of the BARMM on Thursday, July 4, to present its final report on the Comprehensive Capacity Development Project (CCDP) for the Bangsamoro.   The CCDP is a JICA project implemented from July 2013 – July 2019. It sought to help improve the system and institution of the new autonomous Bangsamoro region and upgrade its human resources capacity. It also aimed to reduce the poverty rate in the region, especially in the conflict-affected areas.   The CCDP was composed of three components: governance, public service delivery, and community development, and economic enhancement.   One of its projects was the Revenue Enhancement Assistance for LGUs (REAL) in ARMM which helped improve the revenue generation in the region.   “We assure you that your sacrifices and the taxpayers’ money will not be put into waste, it will enhance many of the programs that we tend to (implement),” Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the local government ministry told the JICA officials.   Among the BARMM officials who attended the meeting were Executive Secretary Esmael Pasigan, Assistant Executive Secretary Abdullah Cusain, Cabinet Secretary Asnin Pendatun, and others. 

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LGU Piagapo Develops Curriculum for Madrasah Education

July 8, 2019

The local government of Piagapo has developed a centralized curriculum for Arabic schools (Madrasah) within the municipality to ensure that students receive a coherent learning experience that contributes towards their spiritual, educational, social, and psychological learning and development.   For the first time in the history of Arabic education in the province, the said curriculum will be introduced to teachers and students this month after Piagapo former mayor now vice mayor Engr. Ali Sumandar turned over the said documents to different Madrasah heads in a small ceremony held on July 3 at the municipal hall.   The unified curriculum is designed for Kinder (Tahderia), Grade (Ibtida), High School (Motawasit), High School (Thanawi), and College (Kolya) students which was crafted by Muslim religious scholars in close coordination with the local government through its office on Islamic Affairs headed by Cosain Datumaas and Aleem Mostafa Panganting, Focal Person and Piagapo’s Deputy Mayor for Islamic Affairs, respectively.   The curriculum was developed to also help combat the spread of religious extremism and radicalism in the country.

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Son of ex-Maguindanao gov, 4 others Killed in Military Checkpoint

July 8, 2019

Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said what happened at around 8:45 p.m. Friday was an encounter between troops manning a checkpoint and suspected gunmen inside a gray Nissan Patrol car. Relatives confirmed that one of the slain men was Datu Hasheem Matalam, son of former Maguindanao Governor and long-time Pagalungan town mayor Norodin Matalam, and a resident of Barangay Layug. Also killed were Buton Bacocol, a resident of Matina, Pangi, Davao City. Their bodies were immediately claimed by their relatives. One of the three unidentified victims was later identified as Abdullah Mamalumpong, a fugitive from the provincial jail in Amaas, North Cotabato. Recovered from the scene are high-powered firearms consisting of an M-16 riffle, two M-653, one 1911 pistol, one riffle grenade, one hand grenade, three sachets of suspected shabu paraphernalia, cellphones and 15,000 pesos cash. Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, chief of the 602nd Infantry Brigade covering Maguindanao and North Cotabato, said reports reaching them indicate the men inside the car did not stop at the checkpoint but fired their guns at the troops instead. “The troops manning the checkpoint tried to stop them for inspection but they opened fire first which led our men to fire back”, Rosario said in a telephone interview. Rosario added that his men, especially the troops under 7th Infantry Battalion, are on red alert status  because of the clashes the whole day on Friday from the factions of the  Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) engaged in a rido (clan war). “We will sustain our effort against the lawless groups, campaign on loose firearms and rido settlement,” Sobejana said.

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New Maguindanao Gov Holds Office in Shariff Aguak capitol

July 4, 2019

New Maguindanao Gov. Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu delivered her inaugural address and State of the Province Address at the gymnasium inside the capitol compound here Tuesday morning, marking the return of the seat of power in this town after almost a decade.   Armored tanks and heavily-armed military and police officers were deployed strategically along the highway and inside the provincial capitol compound, which serves as the headquarters of the 601st Infantry Brigade following the infamous 2009 Ampatuan massacre that killed 58 people, including 32 media workers.   Sangki-Mangudadatu, the first elected female governor who touted herself as the Agila ng Maguindanao (Eagle of Maguindanao), pledged to lead Maguindanao to new heights during her inaugural address at the jampacked gymnasium.   “We will work to restore Maganoy to its old glory,” she told the crowd in Filipino.   Maganoy, the old name of Shariff Aguak, used to be a bustling locality in the then undivided Cotabato empire.   During the campaign period, Sangki-Mangudadatu promised to return the provincial seat of power to Shariff Aguak, which, according to her, is the “rightful” capitol site.   “Walang duda ang bayang to ang kinikilala ng batas na syang provincial capital (There is no doubt the law recognizes this town as the provincial capital,” Sangki-Mangudadatu said in a speech that lasted for about an hour.   The late three-term governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. built here the P218-million capitol, the only one in the country with a jacuzzi whirlpool bath at the governor’s wing.. The capitol is a few hundred meters away from what used to be his palatial house.   Ampatuan Sr., the alleged mastermind in the Ampatuan massacre, so-called because it happened in Ampatuan town, died while in detention in 2015 due to a lingering illness.   He abandoned the old provincial capitol in Nuling, Sultan Kudarat town months after he became the governor in 2001 following an alleged ambush of his convoy.   His immediate predecessors --- Zacaria Candao (1986–1992; 1995–2001) and Norodin Matalam (1992–1995) --- held office at the provincial capitol in Sultan Kudarat town.   The successor of Ampatuan Sr., outgoing three-term governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, did not hold office in Shariff Aguak and ruled the province in his hometown Buluan after assuming power in 2010 due to security reasons.   Esmael’s wife and several female family members, who filed the certificate of candidacy for governor on his behalf, were among the victims of the massacre.   Esmael established a “satellite office” in Buluan town after he assumed power and in 2016, started constructing there a P500-million new capitol in a 12-hectare property that President Duterte unveiled only last February.   Sangki-Mangudadatu, whose husband Suharto Mangudadatu is the come-backing governor of neighboring Sultan Kudarat province, said the provincial capitol in Buluan, which was patterned after the US capitol, would be transformed into a hospital.   Suharto, who previously served as governor and congressional representative of Sultan Kudarat province, and Esmael are cousins.   Sangki-Mangudadatu, formerly the mayor of Datu Abdullah Sangki town for two terms, defeated Freddie Mangudadatu, younger brother of Esmael, who won the province’s second congressional district race.   A part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Maguindanao, which is composed of 36 towns, is a known bailiwick of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and one of the country’s poorest provinces due to the decades-long Moro rebellion.   The interior of the capitol building appeared dilapidated due to lack of maintenance and needs rehabilitation.

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New WestMinCom Chief Vows to End ASG Terror Reign in Sulu this year

July 3, 2019

With these words, the visibly angry newly installed Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, vowed to get back at the terrorist group and let them pay the lawlessness they had just done to his subordinates and to the civilians of Indanan in Sulu. During his speech as he handed over his responsibility as commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao to Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, Sobejana vowed to give justice to his fallen soldiers and to let the perpetrators of the twin bomb attacks in an Army base in Indanan suffer the same fate.  Maj. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for WestMinCom, said the military in Sulu has been on heightened alert since the January 27 Jolo Cathedral bombings that left more than 20 dead and a hundred injured.  Friday last week, eight people were killed – including three soldiers and the two suspected bombers – in twin explosions near a military camp in Indanan. “They were suicide bombers, and they appeared to be young Moroccans or any Asian-looking individuals,” Encinas said of the suspects. He said initial investigation showed that a man carrying something suspicious appeared near the military base outpost. Upon sensing threat, the sentry chief ordered his men to check on the suspicious item the man was carrying as he got closer to the sentry outpost. “As the soldiers were checking on the man and what he was carrying, an explosion occurred,” Encinas said, adding that it was a “signal” for another man with powerful explosives with him to enter the gate that was opened after the first blast. The first blast killed three soldiers. Responding soldiers shot the second bomber but still he managed to set off the second and more powerful bomb that caused bigger damage to the camp. Encinas said the suspects were believed to be Moroccans in their early 20s. To confirm that, Encinas said, the WestMinCom is awaiting DNA test results to determine if the bombers outside the camp and those responsible for the Jolo Cathedral explosions were related, including the type of explosives used. The Army is verifying reports that the slain suicide bombers in Indanan were children of the couple who set off bombs in the cathedral. Sobejana vowed to “finish off” the Abu Sayyaf and foreign terrorists in Sulu by December this year in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s ultimatum of wiping out the ASG by 2020. 

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