ARMM, national gov't team up against poverty

The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper - - News - (Bureau of Public Information)

COTABATO CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and several national government agencies will jointly implement anti-poverty programs in the region starting this month.

In a cabinet meeting held recently, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the national office of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to lead the implementation of the antipoverty programs in the ARMM, and other conflictaffected areas found in Regions 9, 10 and 12.

Aside from the TESDA, the ARMM will also be working with the National Economic and Development Authority, Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Labor and Employment and the Commission on Higher Education.

Officials from the ARMM and the TESDA held a consultative and action planning meeting on Thursday, August 11, 2016, in Cotabato City to discuss the initial details of the programs and projects that will be implemented.

Rosanna Urdaneta, TESDA national deputy director for policies and planning, said President Duterte wants “to bring the programs and services of the national government to the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas.”

"The president would really want to focus on poverty reduction programs in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas," she added.

The socio-economic agenda of the Duterte administration focuses on the eradication of hunger, establishment of potable water systems, provision of shelter, free college education and technical and vocational skills training, free access to health facilities, energy in the barangays, support to agricultural development, and job generation to combat unemployment and underemployment.

The initial plan is a product of the meetings of the national cabinet last week, and will be implemented from 2016-2019.

Based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the ARMM is the poorest region in the country with a poverty incidence of 53.4%. Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, two of the five provinces that make up the region, are considered to be the poorest and second poorest province with 70.2% and 50.4% poverty incidence, respectively.

The ARMM is undertaking several programs to combat poverty, which include the ‘Apat na Dapat’ at the household level, the Armm-health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Security, and Synergy (HELPS) at the barangay level, and the Armm-humanitarian and Development Action Program (HDAP), a relief, rehabilitation and livelihood project in calamity-affected communities in 15 towns in Maguindanao.

"We hope that the national government would help us bridge the gaps the programs we are currently implementing," lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM’S executive secretary, said.

ARMM officials proposed the inclusion of irrigation projects, halal industry development and agriculture skills training and climate change mitigation efforts in the poverty alleviation and development plan. “There will be a series of meetings to consolidate all the suggestions to significantly alleviate poverty in the identified regions,” Urdaneta said.

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