Sikad drivers hit by Covid-19 crisis

November 27, 2020

LALA, Lanao del Norte - Mandated to take off-road due to modified enhanced community quarantine caused by the rising cases of Covid-19 in Barangay Maranding, sikad drivers were left with no choice but to ober the new normal rules imposed by national and local laws.  Cornelio Dela Cerna, 48, who has been cycling around the community since 1997 said that even before the transporation halt, he has not picked up enough passengers to reach his average quota he used to have pre-pandemic.  “Lisod uy, atong lockdown diri na gipapahuway mi ug biyahe lisod jud. Dako kaayong epekto sa among pankonsumo sa pamilya. Hinuon nakadawat mig ayuda ato 12 kilos na bugas, 1 kilo bulad, 1 kilo munggos, 2 ka lata na corned beef gikan sa barangay,” he shared.  He further expressed that the relief goods they received from the local government were budgeted to fit the span of the two-week rest.  “Gi budget jud namo ang ayuda kay 12 kilos ra gud unya sulod sa 14 days na wala mi biyahe, kailangan jud namo siyang iguon kay wala mi kita, wala mi pamalit ug pagkonsumo,” he said.  Nonetheless, he was still thankful for the assistance given to them and said that it was better than to receive nothing.  Wilson Villarin, 58, also shared the same sentiment as he complained about how the pandemic slashed off their everyday earning.  “Apiki jud among panginabuhi ron. Naubos jud ang among pagpanikad gumikan sa panahon sa pagsugod sa pandemya hantod karon, wala pajud kausaban kay wala pa man kaayo tawo na manggawas,” said Villarin while he was patiently waiting for passengers. Moreover, Gregorio Gimena, a sikad driver for 15 years mentioned that most drivers within the community usually have an earning of Php. 500 and above. But since the start of pandemic when passengers and transportations were discouraged to go out and operate, the income plunged down to Php. 200.    “Lahi sauna ang among pagbiyahe diri sa Maranding. Sauna makaabot pa mi ug Php. 500 ug kung tingsakay masobra pa. Karon mga nasa Php. 200 nalang kay mingaw pa ang tawo ron, hinay ang sakay,” he stated.  He further shared that he was more worried for the sikad drivers who have families to support because he himself who has none, could already feel the struggle caused by the pandemic.      On the lighter side, youth initiatives with the aim to help sikad drivers in Barangay Maranding are starting to kick off.   An initiative spearheaded by Nathanielle Keith Penaso, a nursing student from Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology will be opening a donation drive that will be accepting monetary and in-kind donations like clothing and groceries any time in December. She said that the drive is to support sikad drivers who are one of the people greatly affected by the crisis by giving them necessary groceries for the daily consumption. ###

Reconstruction of mosques in Marawi City commences

October 14, 2020

  The rebuilding of three mosques destroyed during the 2017 Marawi City siege will begin soon as Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) revealed that funding has already been released for their construction. “We (TFBM) already issued the checks for mobilization of the three contractors for the three mosques,” Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Chief of Staff Zyril Carlos said during his recent visit to the Islamic City. “So it’s not just a Memorandum of Agreement. Now, it’s already a project,” the DHSUD chief of staff said. The DHSUD official visited Marawi to personally inspect the development of each project in Marawi’s Most Affected Area (MAA). After a thorough assessment of the sites, he assured that the rebuilding process remains well within the government’s December 2021 timeline despite heightened restrictions imposed within the city due to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. “We are closely monitoring the progress to make sure that they are within the timetable,” Carlos stressed. DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, who leads the inter-agency TFBM, has continuously affirmed that the rehabilitation of the country’s only Islamic city remains on track and that it will be completed by December 2021 as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Among the projects that will be rebuilt in Marawi’s MAA are the Masjid Darussalam in Barangay Raya Madaya, Masjid Disomangcop in Barangay Daguduban and the White Mosque in Barangay Lumbac Madaya. In August, Secretary Del Rosario spearheaded the signing of three Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) that enabled the repairs of the three mosques using donated funds from private developers. It would be the first time that TFBM will be using donated funds from private developers intended for socialized housing development and rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas like Marawi City. (DHSUD)  

Lanao del Sur COVID-19 infections hit record high in September

September 25, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 24 (PIA) - Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Lanao del Sur is "on the uptrend with the highest number noted in September," according to Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) chief Dr. Alinader Minalang. Minalang said the province logged a total of 106 active cases out of the 555 confirmed positive cases as of September 23. "Ninety (90) percent (%) of the active cases are asymptomatic to mild while 10% are moderate to critical," he further said. Minalang added that Marawi City has the highest number of confirmed cases with 253, followed by Marantao (61), Malabang (20), Balindong (16), and Wao (15). Moreover, 70 or 66% of active cases are located in Marawi City while the other 36 or 34% are distributed in the 18 municipalities of Lanao del Sur. Meanwhile, 425 or 77% have recovered while 24 or 4% have expired as of September 23. In a virtual press briefing Wednesday, Minalang identified poor compliance to minimum health standards and behavioral issues such as lack of discipline, misconceptions, and misinformation as some of the possible reasons for the surge in cases. He reiterated his call to the public to observe and not take for granted the minimum health protocols. He said, "Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer; wear your face mask properly at all times especially when in public places; supplement with a face shield for additional protection to prevent the virus from entering your eyes, nose, or mouth; maintain at least 1.5 meters physical distance; and avoid crowded places where social distancing is not observed as well as social gatherings like weddings, parties, kanduri, among others." Minalang also reminded the public to stay away from fake news and to get the facts from health authorities only.   He further advised those experiencing fever, cough, colds, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, or have difficulty breathing to isolate from others and strictly observe minimum health standards. "Inform your doctor or any health worker immediately for a proper referral. Do not hide or deny your symptoms to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community, he added. The IPHO chief emphasized that public cooperation and compliance to health protocols are necessary to control the spread of coronavirus infections and mitigate the catastrophic effects of the pandemic. (APB/PIA-ICIC)

Bangsamoro gov't urges youth orgs to undergo accreditation

September 24, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 23 —The Bangsamoro Government is urging youth-led and youth-serving organizations within the Bangsamoro region to apply for accreditation at the Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC). Accreditation at the BYC serves as the organizations' legal identity and will open opportunities for the youth organizations to engagements and participation in development-related programs of the Bangsamoro Government and other development partners. The accredited organizations may also become beneficiaries of BYC development programs and humanitarian assistance. The BYC has accredited more than 200 youth organizations since it has started its accreditation in 2016. Right now, more than 120 organizations are under review subject for BYC's approval. A writing workshop for these organizations is slated to develop their skills in technical writing, message development and delivery, data gathering and analysis, planning and prioritization, and scientific knowledge for administrative staff, among others. "The accreditation will pave the way to more empowered youth organizations and skilled youth leaders through their partnership with BYC-BARMM and other non-government and civil society organizations and partners," BYC Chairperson Marjanie Macasalong said. The Lakas Kabataan Tawi-Tawi, an accredited youth organization based in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, was one of the 40 organizations in the province that benefitted from Lingkod Kabataang Bangsamoro, a Covid-19 response of the BYC to affected youth organizations. The humanitarian assistance has benefitted about 200 organizations across the region. The BYC and the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD)-BARMM will also roll out livelihood assistance to youth organizations dubbed 'Alay Kabuhayan Kontra Covid-19'. The accreditation is among the priorities stated in the Bangsamoro Youth Transition Priority Agenda (BYTPA) 2020-2022. The BYTPA is the Bangsamoro Government’s youth development agenda “that addresses peculiar social context, considerations, and conditions as well as the pertinent needs and challenges confronting the Bangsamoro Youth.” BYTPA 2020-2022 was drafted by the BYC along with other regional line agencies and development partners.  Macasalong said the youth agenda adheres to the vision, mission, and framework of the National Youth Commission’s Medium Term Philippine Youth Development Plan. The priority agenda was officially adopted by the Bangsamoro Government on September 12 during the regional celebration of the International Youth Day 2020 in Cotabato City. "The collection of good baseline data is important to be able to prepare a comprehensive and data-based youth development plan," Macasalong added. Youth organizations that operate outside the region were also encouraged to accredit their organizations. The application for accreditation will run until October 30. (BPI)

BARMM health minister, 3 employees recover from Covid-19

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) — Three (3) out of the 38 employees of Bangsamoro Government’s Office of the Chief Minister (OCM-BARMM) who were tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have recovered. Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) spokesperson Mohd Asnin Pendatun said Wednesday, September 16, via virtual press briefer, that the remaining 35 COVID-positive employees are currently in stable condition, and are undergoing strict quarantine in an isolation center in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. He also said that the Bangsamoro Government ensured families of affected employees were assisted. Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Health Minister Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan also recovered from Covid-19. In his official statement, Dipatuan said that he and his wife have been in the hospital for the past two weeks for isolation and treatment after testing positive for Covid-19. “We have already surpassed that challenge and are now fully recovered.” The said development is also due to the fast response of the Bangsamoro Government since news broke about an employee who tested positive for Covid-19 late August. This includes massive RT-PCR testing for its employees on September 3-4, 2020, as well as two-week disinfection inside the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City. With this, the OCM has resumed its operation and transactions with work shifting schedules for its employees. However, visitors are reminded to strictly follow public health standards, or they will be denied entry. “We advise our constituents to stay at home, unless it’s for essential or important matters,” Pendatun stated. “The OCM is asking our visitors to secure an appointment for their transactions. Since most of the visits are related to the AMBAG Program, we will answer transactions via online and phone,” he added. According to Pendatun, the first case in the OCM is not conclusively the reason for the sudden rise in the number of the affected employees for the reason that said the patient had no recent travel history nor any visit to a place with known local transmission. “We cannot conclusively trace that the first case was the reason why other OCM employees tested positive for Covid-19. However, we should always look at the health and recovery of our employees and our fast response through our containment strategy,” Pendatun noted. Furthermore, Pendatun noted that 53% of the total cases in the BARMM are Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), while the rest are Returning Overseas Filipinos (3%) and through other transmissions (44%). As of September 15, 2020, BARMM has recorded eight (8) new Covid-19 cases, 215 active cases, 806 total cases, and 26 deaths. The new cases included five (5) from Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, two (2) from Basilan, and one (1) from Tawi-Tawi. (BPI/PIA ICIC)

Army engineers fast track construction of permanent shelters for IDPs

September 22, 2020

MARAWI CITY, Sep. 17 (PIA) -- The 55th Engineer Brigade (EBde) of the Philippine Army is pushing for the completion of 50 permanent shelters for the internally displaced persons living in “no-build zones” inside the most affected area of the city. The 553rd and 551st engineer battalions under the said brigade are responsible for the construction of the permanent housing units in Barangay Kilala. LtCol. Elmer Oamil, deputy commander of the Joint Task Group Builders and commanding officer of 553rd Engineer Battalion, said  the army engineers initially constructed 11 housing units.  “Initially 11 units ang inumpisahan namin at ngayon 80 percent na. After macomply ang 11, we will again start 38 out of 50,” he said. [We initially constructed 11 units which are now 80 percent completed. After complying the 11, will again start 38 out of 50.] To recall, the Philippine Army through the 55th EBde inked a project partnership agreement with 12 homeowners associations (HOA) in the city for the site development and construction with funds from the Government of Japan through the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).  Oamil also shared that the rainy season and electricity interruption in the area cause delays in the construction. However, based on the assessment of the UN-HABITAT, the construction of the army is speedy.  The army official also reaffirmed their commitment to helping reconstruct and rebuild the city.  “Sa pangunguna ng aming brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando,  taos-puso naming ibibigay ang aming kakayanan para sa ikadadali sa rehabilitasyon ng Marawi City,” he said. [With the leadership of our brigade commander, Brigadier General Nestor Abando, we will lend our skills wholeheartedly to fast track the rehabilitation of Marawi City.] The National Housing Authority and Task Force Bangon Marawi acquired the land used for the construction of shelter units. The construction of other housing units in Barangay Mipantao Gandongan is also ongoing.  (LELA/PIA ICIC)


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