Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Japan-funded training center launched in ARMM

COTABATO CITY – Officials from Japan and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao held a groundbreaking rite here Monday for the construction of the P28.8-million their Friendship Hall and Training Center (FHTC), drawing public applause on what host leaders described as a sign of sustained Japan-Philippines strong diplomacy.

Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Minister Motohiko Kato led the formal ceremony assisted by ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo.

The construction of the training center is financed through the Counter-value Fund of Japan’s Non-Project Grant Aid for the Philippines and part of Japan’s commitment to help enhance the ARMM government’s human resource capacity, Sinarimbo said.

Aside from housing the ARMM Development Academy (ADA), which takes lead in the ARMM’s human resource development, the JAFHTC will serve as venue to a lineup of activities primarily aimed at the human resource development of ARMM.

About 90 trainings, workshops and seminars are set to be held at the training center once it is completed, according to a press release from the Embassy of Japan.

Kato reaffirms “Japan’s continuous commitment and friendship to support efforts of the ARMM government to achieve sustainable development.”

He said “Japan considers its assistance for Mindanao to be one of the three main pillars of its ODA [Official Development Assistance] for the Philippines” and the assistance that their country provides to ARMM is one of the three main development objectives of their assistance policy for Mindanao.

ARMM Acting Governor Ansaruddin Adiong conveyed the gratitude and appreciation of the people of ARMM to Japan for its unrelenting support.

He said this latest Japan-funded project instills an “overwhelming hope and excitement” to the regional government in view of the “beneficial activities” that will be held in it.

Japan remains one of the main donor countries providing ODA to ARMM.

Last month alone, the region has witnessed a litany turnover rites for strategic infrastructure projects financed by the Government of Japan.

Moreover, the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP) – the biggest poverty-alleviation project in ARMM – is funded, in part, by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Sinarimbo tags the JAFHTC as an icon of the mutual cooperation and partnership between Japan and the ARMM.

He said the building will be a “modern and convenient infrastructure” that would help improve the region’s human capacity. (Edited by AGM, BPI-ARMM)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

P14.30 daily wage hike mulled in ARMM

COTABATO CITY – Labor authorities of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have assured to raise daily minimum wage by at least P14.30 for workers in the two cities and five component provinces of the region.

ARMM’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regional secretary Myra Alih said her agency would undergo after the May 10 elections a series of consultations for the local labor forces’ demand for wage increase this year.

Speaking at Labor Day celebration here on May 1, clarified that the proposed wage hike has no definite ceiling but it will not be more than P14.30 just to augment the wages of our workers.

The ARMM’s celebration of the Labor Day was also highlighted by the awarding of summer job qualifiers under the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) program for 1,525 students in the entire region.

Alih said that 440 licensed nurses are now ready for deployment to the rural areas in all component provinces of the ARMM under the Nurses Assigned in Rural Services (NARS) program.

She said the Youth Employment and Migration (YEM) Program was also in progress to cater to concerns of out-of-school youth in the region.

Alih commended the local and international companies in the ARMM for providing more job opportunities to skilled workers in the region.

With the theme “Manggagawang Pilipino, Kaagapay sa Pagbabago,” the Labor Day fete here also acknowledged the substantial contributions of private establishments in the region by awarding them certificates as most outstanding private establishments and employees/workers.

Regional executive secretary Naguib Sinarimbo graced the local celebration, lauding the regional labor force’s “cooperative” stance with the pace of development in ARMM.

“As we in the public sectors remember the importance of this day, we also hope that our social partners would also do a recollection and reaffirmation of the belief that labor rights and standards of work need not be sacrificed at the altar of business and economic development,” Sinarimbo said.

Sinarimbo and Alih underscored the adoption of focused policies and strategies on labor concerns by the present ARMM leadership under acting Regional Governor Ansaruddin Adiong as a part of its regional strategic plan aimed at bringing the region to greater heights.

The celebration activities included a parade, parlor games; jobs fair; awarding of outstanding private establishments and outstanding employees/workers in the region; and Cultural Presentation. (Ali G. Macabalang)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

ARMM to pursue P206 M agri-development projects in 2010

Cotabato City - The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) will be pursuing diverse agricultural development projects amounting to P206-million this year under the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP).

MRDP is a long-term poverty alleviation program of the national government through the Department of Agriculture (DA), funded from a loan from the World Bank and equity from Local Government Units (LGUs).

The project is now on the third year of the second phase of its implementation, which started in 2007, and will run for five years.

This year, a total of P2 billion worth of projects, which include the construction of farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities and other infrastructures, have been targeted by different regions across Mindanao with ARMM posting the highest target of P206 million, according to the DA.

These infrastructures are expected to improve the lives of thousands of farmers and increase farm production.

DAF-ARMM Secretary Lomala Balindong said the region excelled in the implementation of the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD), a component program of the MRDP, in a recent assessment overseen by the World Bank.

Sixty percent of the target projects under this component have already been completed while the remaining 40% are now being undertaken, he said.

He said CFAD has benefitted a total of 3,362 farmers all over the region with the completion of 55 out of the 71 community sub-projects amounting to P18 million and the ongoing implementation of 8 others.

Balindong said lined-up projects for this year are intended to provide farmers and fisherfolks in the region with long-lasting support in the improvement of their harvests and living condition. (bpiarmm)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Task group holds final consultation on ARMM's gender code

DAVAO CITY – A task group helping draft the Gender and Development Code of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has held its final lap of consultative meetings here with Muslim religious leaders as a prelude to the legislation of the code.

The Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Regional Sub-committee on Gender and Development (RSCGAD) gathered comments and suggestions from invited participants of the April 7 and 8 consultations here on the draft of the gender code.

The consultation intends to comprise and conform to the official position of the Muslim Religious Leaders on the religious and contentious provisions of the ARMM GAD Code.

The ARMM’s GAD Code is envisioned to be the regional translation of the Republic Act 9710 known as the Magna Carta of Women that was recently passed by Congress and signed into law by Pres. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo.

DILG-ARMM assistant secretary and GAD Code Technical Working Group (TWG) chair Sharifa Pearlsia.Dans said the adoption of the code could be “a regional landmark legislation that promotes and protects women’s rights in different areas and responds to gender issues and concerns affecting women and children in the region”.

Like the Magna Carta of Women, the Code affirms the role of women in nation building and ensures the substantive equality of women and men, young and old.

It also promotes empowerment of women and pursues equal opportunities for women and men, boys and girls, ensures equal access to resources and to development results and outcomes in the region.

“Our advocacies are more on re-inventing initiatives, mechanism, public policy agenda suitable to our “Muslimness” and to our region’s geographical configuration", said Ms. Tarhata Maglangit, the commissioner of the ARMM Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW) for Maguindanao province.

Commissioner Maglangit hopes that this consultation with the Muslim Religious Leaders can widen the wisdom of opportunities for the Bangsamoro women’s participation in advancing gender and development agenda.

The final draft of the ARMM GAD Code will be submitted to the ARMM Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) for enactment into law.

The Code will be sponsored by Maguindanao 1st District Assemblyman Abdulradzak Tomawis and Speaker Reggie Sahali-Generale of Lone district of Tawi-Tawi as co-sponsor.

Series of provincial consultations have been conducted by the RSCGAD-ARMM technical working group since last year last, gathering local government stakeholders and development partners to brainstorm on issues and concerns involved in the prospected legislation of the code.

The said consultation participated in by Muslim Religious Leaders coming from the different component provinces of the ARMM has been spearheaded by the RCBW and the RSCGAD in the autonomous region in partnership with the the Commission on Population-XII and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). (bpi-armm)

ARMM to receive fresh AusAID support in education

Cotabato City - The Government of Australia plans to provide a long-term support to the improvement of the quality and access to education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim in Mindanao (ARMM) through the introduction of another round of assistance that builds on the successes of the now concluded eight-year Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao (BEAM) project.

Ramon Bobier, BEAM project director, said the new program called Implementation Support to Design BEAM ARMM is not a continuation of BEAM but a discrete set of activities over a 12-month period that aims to maintain the momentum of education reforms in ARMM and to support the design of the Government of Australia’s (GoA) longer term assistance in the region. The planned long term education assistance would be implemented in the five provinces and 1 city of ARMM.

Efforts are now being undertaken to draw up the new project through a 12-month implementation support to BEAM-ARMM design with the involvement of several stakeholders. The new phase will include the implementation of a peace education framework specifically tailored to suit the needs of children in the region.

School and regional officials of the Department of Education (DepEd)-ARMM have recently participated in a two-day workshop forum on peace education sponsored by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The peace education framework will be able to introduce and integrate best peace concepts and culture into the curriculum and systematically build peace in the minds of the children.

A handout given during the forum describes peace education as education that is geared toward a culture of peace, which the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines as “a growing body of shared values, attitudes, behaviors and ways of life based on: nonviolence, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms; understanding, tolerance and solidarity; sharing and free flow of communication; and full participation and empowerment of women.”

ARMM Education Secretary, Hamid Aminodin Barra, said peace education framework in ARMM should have Islamic teachings as its foundation.

Barra, who provided an input on Islamic framework on peace and respect for human dignity in the forum, averred that the Islamic context must always be considered in any project that will be undertaken in the ARMM.

He also allayed apprehensions that this extremism is a “religious excesses, going beyond the limits and transgressing permitted bound” as he emphasized that “Islam is a religion of moderation.”

The AusAID-BEAM project, which officially ended in November of last year, has helped improved the learning outcomes of school children in the region in English, Science and Math and increased accessed of those living in remote and depressed communities to education with its wide-ranging and innovative schemes.

ARMM, however, continues to lag behind other regions in terms of literacy and needs more help to change this trend.

The new AusAID support will focus on the particular education needs of ARMM with its unique culture and diverse populace taken into consideration. (bpiarmm)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women Empowerment

Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) executive director Ms. Emmeline Versoza explains to participants of the Conference on Magna Carta of Women the salient provisions of the Republic Act 9710 otherwise known as the Magna Carta of Women on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 in Cotabato City. The conference was one of the activities on the month-long celebration of the Women’s Month this March with the theme “Babae, Tagumpay Ka Ng Bayan” spearheaded by the Regional Commission on Bangsamoro Women (RCBW-ARMM). (bpi-armm)

Smart and Young Leaders

Lanao del Sur 1st District Assemblyman Ziahur Rahman Alonto Adiong (1st from Left) joins the group of young lady officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as panelists and resource speaker during the Conference on the Magna Carta of Women here in Cotabato City on March 23. Also shown (from Left-Right) are Atty. Christina Hawtay Jovero, OIC, regional director of the Commission on Human Rights –Region 12 and ARMM; DTI-ARMM regional secretary Atty. Asnairah Batua; Phil. Commission on Women executive director Ms. Emmeline Versoza as the Resource Speaker; ARMM Bureau on Cultural Heritage (BCH) executive director Atty. Bai Ashrafiah Aymee Biruar and Regional Legislative Assembly Gender and Development (GAD) focal person Atty. Bai Ysrahayda Sinsuat. Assemblyman Adiong delivered the message of the ARMM acting regional governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong on the conference. (bpi-armm)