P3-million livelihood assistance for Basilan cooperatives

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News -

BASILAN - Three cooperatives in the province of Basilan in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will receive P3-million worth of livelihood projects from the region’s banner program Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (HELPS).

The livelihood assistance, implemented by the ARMM’s Science and Technology department (DOST-ARMM), covers skills training, capital infusion, and construction of a bakery for each beneficiary cooperative.

Secretary Myra Mangkabung of DOST-ARMM, program manager Anwar Upahm of ARMM-HELPS project management office, and members of the beneficiary cooperatives will attend the turn-over ceremony of the projects on April 11-12.

“This will improve the living conditions of the local communities in the province,” said Bimpo Eping, ARMM-HELPS focal person in Basilan. He added that the projects will empower the members of the cooperatives to become successful business owners.

The cooperative recipients of HELPS projects are Switch Yakal Consumers Cooperative in Lantawan; Badja Kahapan Agri-Farmers Producers Cooperative in Tipo-Tipo; and Pintasan Consumers Cooperative in Mohammad Ajul. Basilan’s major products include coconut, rubber, coffee black pepper and palm oil.

“Masaya po kami sa proyektong ibibigay sa amin, dahil magkakaroon na kami ng pagkakakitaan, may pang gastos na kami araw-araw (We are happy we are given this project, now we can make both ends meet everyday),” said Nihma Asanji, 27, a member of the Badja Kahapan Agri-Farmers Producers Cooperative.

Asanji said this is the first time that the ARMM government reached her barangay to deliver projects and programs. ARMM-HELPS is a convergence initiative of the regional government and is regarded as the centerpiece of the Hataman administration. Governor Mujiv Hataman has been pursuing the program’s livelihood component through various regional line agencies.

Upahm said the regional government identified a total of 200 barangays as priority project recipients under the HELPS program in 2015-2016. The ARMM government earmarked P10-million worth of various projects for each target barangay.

He further explained that the ARMM-HELPS project management office conducted focus group discussions with local leaders to assess the needs of recipient communities.

“We want to see a better community with a barangay hall, a daycare center, a health center, a children's park and a multi-purpose building,” Upahm added.

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