P100-M abaca fiber processing plant to be established in Lanao del Sur

November 30, 2019

MARAWI CITY -- A P100-million worth abaca fiber processing plant will be established in Brgy. Calilangan, municipality of Balabagan following the Bangsamoro Government Regional Board of Investment’s (RBOI) approval of the Hong Kong Feng Seng Heritage Philippines Inc. (HK FSH) registration.   The plant, which will initially employ 107 workers, has a starting capacity of 12,000 metric tons of abaca fiber at ten percent increase annually. All products will be exported to China for pulp making through Bloomfield (Xingtai) Specialty Paper Co. Ltd. Bloomfield supplies pulps to paper mills in China and the world.   Manolito Hofer, HK FHS chief executive officer, said the project is part of his personal advocacy of helping end armed conflicts and push for development in his home province, Lanao del Sur.   “I am optimistic that with the start of this facility, more opportunities will come to BARMM. HK FHS plans to establish additional 10,000 hectares of abaca plantations through contract growing all over the region including the Zamboanga Peninsula to generate around 20,000 or more workers in the next few years,” Hofer said.   HK FSH will also set up an abaca tissue culture laboratory and nursery to supply its plantation needs. Initially, the nursery targets 2,000 plantlets for 1,000 hectares in its first year of operations and increase it as the project expands in the years to come.   Meanwhile, RBOI Chairman Atty. Ishak Mastura said, “as the year closes, BARMM has shown the benefits of peace in terms of more willing investors in the region, especially since the Bangsamoro Organic Law just began its implementation this year thru the administration of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Interim Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim.”   According to Minister Abuamri Taddik of the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism (MTIT-BARMM), the region has developed an abaca industry roadmap focused on Lanao del Sur envisioned to maximize the potential of the area, empower the labor force through good agricultural practices and alleviate the lives of the people of the lake.   The abaca is known worldwide as the “Manila Hemp”, with the Philippines as a top producer and exporter. The abaca fiber is considered the strongest of natural fibers. It is three times stronger than cotton.   As per Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority's (PhilFIDA ) 2018 data, ARMM is among the top five abaca producing regions in the Philippines contributing 10.07 percent of the country’s total abaca production. Lanao del Sur is second to Sulu in abaca production in ARMM and ranks eight in the country. The province has an approximate 5,621 hectares of abaca plantations with an average yield of 0.69 metric tons per hectare of abaca production.   The registration of HK FSH will allow the company to avail of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives from the government such as income tax holidays (ITH), duty-free importation on capital equipment and other applicable incentives upon the start of the project’s commercial operation. (Bureau of Public Information)  

BARMM launches program to reforest 10,000 hectares of land

November 25, 2019

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur --The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) launched its Integrated Bangsamoro Greening Program (IBGP) on Saturday, November 23, at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The program is designed to reforest 10,000 hectares of open and denuded forests in the provinces of Maguindanao and Lanao Del Sur. It is one of the priority programs of Bangsamoro Government and also part of its peacekeeping efforts as the program would involve the hiring of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) members as palaw or forest rangers. Its implementation will begin on December 1, 2019 and Environment Minister Abdulraof Macacua has been placed at the helm of its implementation. “Since we lived in the forest before and part of our duty then was to protect the environment. This program will take us back again to the forest to protect it,” Macacua said. Part of the launching ceremony was the signing of the contract of service of 400 BIAF members who are not net covered by the decommissioning process as palaw rangers. (BPInformation)

CHED, OPAPP vow to support BARMM higher education

November 19, 2019

MANILA – The Commission on Higher and Education (CHED) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)  have vowed to support the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in strengthening the delivery of its higher education services. In a memorandum of understanding signed here by CHED, OPAPP, and BARMM’s Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) on 30 October 2019, the two national line agencies pledged to build the capacity of BARMM in monitoring compliance of its Higher Education Institutions (HEI) with the national standards. CHED and OPAPP will also work with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to include underprivileged BARMM students and children of decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants in the Listahan 3.0 or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR). NHTSPR is an information management system that employs geographic targeting, household assessment, and validation to provide national government agencies and development partners with information on who and where the poor are in the Philippines. MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal said the partnership will also look into providing scholarships to Bangsamoro youth. “We will offer scholarship and capacity development programs to decommissioned MILF combatants and their dependents,” said Iqbal. Iqbal added the partnership will also look into the professional development of BARMM HEI faculty and staff members. “CHED and OPAPP will also assist us in crafting the Bangsamoro Education Code and creating our tribal university,” said Iqbal, adding the partnership will enable the ministry to achieve its goals for higher education in the BARMM. Iqbal said the role of higher education is critical as it provides the necessary human resources for BARMM’s socio-economic development. “With a responsive and relevant curriculum, we aim to produce at least one professional in every family in the Bangsamoro,” said Iqbal. He said if the Bangsamoro youth are equipped and educated, they will become agents of peace. “Indeed, through education, the Bangsamoro shall be a place where peace and justice are experienced, cultural diversity is accepted, and sustained economic growth is within reach,” said Iqbal.  ( MBHTE PRESS RELEASE) #

Basilan gov backs BARMM’s AKAP project

November 17, 2019

ISABELA CITY, Basilan – Basilan Governor Hadjiman Salliman has committed to supporting the Abot Karunungan sa Pamilyang Bangsamoro (AKAP) project of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). AKAP is designed to provide Bangsamoro children and youth with greater access to quality education. A team from BARMM’s Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) paid Salliman a courtesy call here recently to introduce the AKAP project. “AKAP will bridge the BARMM Government – particularly the MBHTE – with local government units,” said Salliman. He said the MBHTE has his full support to push the AKAP project forward in his province. “I also share Minister Mohagher Iqbal’s vision for education in the Bangsamoro. There should be no child left behind in terms of providing them accessible and quality education,” he said. Basilan is home to two schools divisions of BARMM that are performing well in recent national achievement tests at the regional level. “I am pleased to see that Basilan is the frontrunner in terms of educational performance in the BARMM. However, I also recognized that there is still a lot to be done to ensure that our children are receiving an accessible and quality education,” he said. AKAP also aims to engage local communities in BARMM by providing them platforms, allowing them to converge as a community and address localized education issues and challenges. “It takes a village to raise a child. We need everyone – including communities – in addressing the perennial education issues and challenges of BARMM,” said Salliman. AKAP is also supported by the Australian Government through the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao. (PR)

BARMM to ensure inclusive consultations on the Bangsamoro Education Code

November 16, 2019

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will reach out to all interested parties to ensure inclusive consultations on the Bangsamoro Education Code. Minister Mohagher Iqbal, BARMM education minister, said all sectors will have equitable representation during the consultations. “We will reach out to parents, community leaders, local government units, women and youth organizations, religious groups, Indigenous Peoples (IP), education managers, and representatives from the private sector,” said Iqbal. Iqbal said the education code consultations have reached out to at least 1,000 education stakeholders from across BARMM to date with the help of Australia through the Pathways Program and The Asia Foundation. The education code is a legal system that consolidates the rights and obligations of the people, the state, and interested parties in developing accessible quality education in the Bangsamoro. Iqbal said the code will govern both public and private educational institutions in the BARMM. “We will be developing an educational framework that is relevant and responsive to the needs, ideals, and aspirations of all people in the Bangsamoro. This means that we need everyone on board in crafting the code,” he said. Iqbal stressed that education in the Bangsamoro should be accessible to all children regardless of their religion, tribe, and culture. He said BARMM will employ appropriate teaching and learning methods based on existing context as well as customary traditions such as those practiced by the IP communities. Iqbal added BARMM will also integrate the teaching of Islamic and Arabic studies in the region’s educational system as prescribed by the Bangsamoro Organic Law. "Together with the national government and our development partners, we will be investing heavily in the education of our children so that no child will be left behind in the Bangsamoro," said Iqbal. # (PAS-RCU/MBHTE)    

Workers in BARMM to benefit from new wage hike

November 15, 2019

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, Nov. 14 --Minimum wage earners in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will receive higher pay following the Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board’s (BTWPB) approval of Wage Order No. BARMM-01 on November 13, 2019. Wage Order No. BARMM-01, which provides a new minimum wage increase for non-agriculture and agriculture sectors in the Bangsamoro region, was issued by the BTWPB-BARMM on Thursday, November 14. Section 1 of the Wage Order states that all minimum wage earners of the private sector in the BARMM shall receive a basic wage increase of twenty pesos (P20.00) per day for provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan. Compared to their previous P280-P270/day wages, the new minimum wage for the workers in the abovementioned cities and provinces are now at P300/day and P290/day for non-agriculture and agriculture sector, respectively. Meanwhile, for Cotabato City and the 63 barangays in North Cotabato, those in the non-agriculture sector shall receive fourteen pesos (P14.00) wage increase per day, while the agriculture sector shall receive ten pesos (P10.00) wage increase per day. From the P290-P311 daily wages, the workers will now get a new minimum wage of P325/day and P300/day for the agriculture and non-agriculture sector, respectively. Section 2 of the Wage Order states that the order “applies to all minimum wage earners in the region, except family drivers, those employees in the personal service of another, and workers in registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises with Certificates of Authority under R.A. 9178.” As stated in Section 10 of the order, the following may be exempted for applicability: Retail and service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers; Distressed establishments; New business enterprises; and Establishments adversely affected by calamities such as natural and human-induced disasters. Labor Minister Romeo Sema, BTWPB-BARMM chairperson, stressed that as per Section 13 of the Wage Order, “any person, corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or entity which refuses or fails to comply to this Order, shall be subjected to the penal provisions under R.A. 6727, as amended by R.A. 8188.” Sema said the wage order is a product of various public consultations organized by the BTWPB-BARMM which was participated in by several representatives from the employers and workers sectors of the BARMM’s five provinces, including the cities of Marawi and Cotabato. The BTWPB-BARMM is composed of the following: Board Chairperson MP Romeo Sema, Minister of BARMM’s Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE); Vice-Chairperson Mohajirin Ali, Executive Director of Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA); Vice-Chairperson Abuamri Taddik, Minister of BARMM’s Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT); Workers’ Representatives Jonathan Acosta and Joyal Maquinto; and Employers’ Representatives Atty. Joseph Go and Datu Haroun Bandila. (Bureau of Public Information)


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