Friday, May 29, 2009

Gov. Ampatuan directs DPWH to address dented bridges in Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan directed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the region to immediately conduct inspection on the damaged bridge cause by the renewed skirmishes in Datu Piang Municipality.

In response to the directive, DPWH-ARMM Secretary Rasul Abpi immediately ordered his DPWH-Maguindanao District Engineer to conduct inspection and verify the extent of damage of the Lintukan bridge at barangay Magaslong.

According to military reports the said bridge was bombed by lawless members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Tuesday, May 26.

Abpi said he instructed his engineers to report immediately to the regional office their findings. He added that result of the inspection will help them decide what measures to be done.

The secretary assured Datu Piang Mayor Samer Uy that his agency will address the problem. “We will at least put some remedial measures to address the problem so that business as usual in Datu Piang,” he said.

Datu Piang Administrator Mosib Tan said the town’s legislative body is planning to file a Resolution asking help from DPWH-ARMM Regional Office to fix immediately the bridge because “humanitarian groups giving assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are experiencing difficulty in bringing in the assistance with the situation of the bridge now”.

Tan said the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council, after the inspection they conducted, bared that a big portion of the bridge was destroyed and they will be needing at least P8 million to repair the said facility.

JICA Officials visit ASFP Projects in Maguindanao

Cotabato City – Officials from the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have conducted a project visitation to projects being funded by the Japanese government and implemented through the autonomous region’s Social Fund Project (ASFP) in the province of Maguindanao on Thursday, May 28, 2009.

Ms. Yukiko Sano, Project Formulation Advisor of JICA, Mr. Tomonori Kikuchi, Second Secretary and Mr. Yusuke Mori, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan visited the Multi-Purpose Center and Solar Drier and Warehouse at Barangay Datu Kiram in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Rehabilitation and Improvement of Polloc Road Port Access and Installation of 48 Rubber Fenders at Polloc, Parang municipality and the Construction of a Training Center for ARMM Integrated Agricultural Research Center of Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMMIARC) at Simuay, Sultan Kudarat town.

Out of the four hundred eight (408) JICA funded community based sub-projects under the Community Development Assistance (CDA) component of the ASFP in two hundred four different barangays regionwide, two hundred four (204) have been implemented while one hundred ninety eight (198) have been turned-over to the beneficiaries. More than twenty (20) projects are in the province of Maguindanao.

ASFP Project Manager Atty. Mustapha Sambolawan said the completion of the rehabilitation and improvement of the Polloc Port ensures the efficient and effective delivery of port services. It is expected to increase the volume of cargo within the port area and reduce the occurrence of accident and damages to cargos and port users.

The on-going construction of the ARMMIARC Training Center will help enhance and strengthen the services in terms of fisheries and agricultural research for the region. With ten (10) rooms Dormitory Facility, Kitchen and Mess Hall facility that can accommodate sixty (60) persons, the training center will serve as a venue for the conduct of necessary trainings for farmers and fisher folks and comfortable place to stay in for researchers in the region, Sambolawan added.

The autonomous regional government under the administration of Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan has been undertaking means to reduce poverty incidence, improve healthcare services and boost local economy in the region through massive development programs and projects.
Ms. Yukiko Sano said she is happy and grateful for the successful and impressive implementation of the JICA funded projects in the said municipalities.

The Japanese officials also visited a five (5) classrooms building with armchairs, teacher’s table and ceiling fan, at Datu Kiram Elementary School, Datu Odin Sisuat Maguindanao donated by the Embassy of Japan in 2006.

The Japanese government has been pouring in various community based and development projects in the region since year 2005 through loans from JICA to help improve the living conditions of the ARMM constituents and build peace in the ARMM communities.

JICA officials, Mr. Tomonori Kikuchi, Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan; Ms. Yukiko Sano, Project Formulation Advisor and Mr. Yusuke Mori, First Secretary, also of Embassy of Japan listen to the story of a farmer from Barangay Datu Kiram, Datu Odin Sinsuat, province of Maguindanao. A Multi-purpose Center, Solar Drier and Warehouse, JICA-funded projects of ASFP, were recently constructed to provide livelihood to Datu Kiram farmers. (omar mangorsi/bpi-armm)

The construction of a training center for ARMM Integrated Agricultural Research Center of Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMMIARC) is currently on-going at Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, province of Maguindanao. The training center, a JICA-funded project of ASFP, will help enhance and strengthen the srevices of the Autonomous Regional Government in terms of fisheries and agricultural research. (omar mangorsi/bpi-armm)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

British gov't assures support for ARMM

COTABATO CITY – The British Government assures its commitment to support Mindanao.

This was the statement given by Christopher Wright, Head Political Section, British Embassy who heads the delegation on a familiarization visit to the regional seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao here on Wednesday, May 27.

Wright said their visit here is for them to see what is really happening to Mindanao. He said that they want to see the challenges the ARMM faces and they what to know the efforts the administration of ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan is doing to address this challenges in the region.

According to Wright his government is committed to the efforts given to Mindanao. He said that there are projects implemented in Mindanao and in the region through the European Union (EU).

“Yes, we have support for Mindanao. We have projects on bridges here and other programs, channeled thru the EU. All our works on projects are leading to peace process,” Wright said.

He said that their visit here is for them to share experience, to listen, to learn and to know where they can help as a friendly country and where and how their experiences could help in the efforts to achieve peace and development in the region.

Regional Planning and Development Executive Director Diamadel Dumagay convey governor Ampatuan’s appreciation to the British Officials for their visit to the region. Dumagay briefed the visiting officials on the programs and projects implemented by the administration of Ampatuan and his efforts on the peace process.

Wright is accompanied by Mr. Euan Graham, Research Analyst, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ms. Jo Bowyer, Desk Officer for Philippines, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Embassy.

The delegation of Wright were welcomed by members of the Cabinet and other officials from the region headed by Regional Planning and Development Executive Director Diamadel Dumagay, Technical Management Service Director Ramil Masukat, Administrative Management Director Hadja Lydia Udaundo-Mastura and Information Director Samson Gogo.

In January this year, the Philippines and the EU renewed their commitment to provide support to families affected by the conflict in Central Mindanao and the ARMM. The EU extended two grants totaling to 6.5 million EURO for Humanitarian relief for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) IN Regions X, XII and ARMM.

The EU humanitarian assistance are being implemented by International organizations and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

The British officials also inquire from the ARMM officials comparison on the negotiations made by the Philippine Government with the two Moro Fronts, the Moro National Liberations Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and how the ARMM was established. (bpi-armm)

Maguindanao dads: Schools ready for June classes amid skirmishes

COTABATO CITY – Amidst the continuing armed conflict and evacuation in some municpalities in the province of Maguindanao, classrooms in the public elementary and high schools are all in placed and ready for use for the opening of classes on Monday, June 1.

As of today, Datu Piang town Administrator Mosib Tan said no classroom in any of the schools here are being used as evacuation centers of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

As a result of the renewed skirmishes in their neighboring communities, Tan said there are 2,630 new families added to the 4,112 families left in their municipalities since the conflict started last August 2008 between the government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Tan clarified that classes for children of IDPs coming from the six barangays affected by the armed conflict will still have their classes open on Monday. They will be using the extra classrooms in some schools especially classrooms at Gumbay Elementary School, he added.

IDPs are staying in bunk houses and relocation centers constructed in Poblacion and at the back of Notre Dame of Dulawan.

ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan directed education officials in the region and local chief executives to direct all their efforts to the needs of the IDPs especially the children who are attending school this year.

Ampatuan ordered the preparation of the school facilities in the region for the start of classes on Monday.

The Department of Education-ARMM has been conducting Brigada Eskwela regionwide for the preparation of the opening of classes.

Meanwhile, Tan added that DSWD-ARMM and humanitarian groups such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, World Food Programme, Mindanao Tulong Bakwit and Community and Family Service Incorporated and other non-government organizations are continuously assisting the IDPs in their municipality. He said that the International Organization on Migration (IOM) gave 10,000 nipa for IDPs to help build their temporary houses. (bpi-armm)

JICA visits ARMM communities

(Inset photo, right] Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Project Formulation Adviser Yukiko Sano (left), Second Secretary of Embassy of Japan, Yusuke Mori and ASFP Project Manager, Atty. Mustapha Sambolawan inspect JICA-funded projects implemented through ASFP’s Community Development Assistance (CDA) component on May 28, 2009 at Barangay Datu Kiram, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao. The projects are Solar Drier and Warehouse and Multi-Purpose Center (inset photo, left). (omar mangorsi/bpi-armm)

Above are JICA-funded projects of ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP) – rehabilitation of Polloc Road Port Access and the installation of 48 pcs. new Rubber Fenders.

ARMM's agri-fishery dept. marks end of 'Fishermen and Fisherfolks Month' and 18th Devolution Anniversary

DAF-ARMM Secretary Keise T. Usman (left) hands over Certificate of Turn-over of (1) Unit Corn Sheller, Kubota Diesel Engine with complete accessories to Basilan Provincial Agricultural Officer Sally Guillermo amounting to P120,000.00. The assistance is part of Basilan Peace Accelerated Development Services (BAPADS) of the DAF-ARMM. (omar mangorsi/bpi-armm)

DAF-ARMM Secretary Keise Usman (2nd, left) and Assistant Secretary Bai Racma Ambolodto lead the Ribbon-cutting on the opening of the exhibits during the 18th DAF-ARMM Devolution Anniversary on May 27, 2009. Assisting them were ARMM Executive Secretary Atty. Oscar Sampulna (right), ARMM Cabinet Secretary Ulama Acad (right), BPI-ARMM Executive Director Samson Gogo (3rd left) and other officials of the department. (omar mangorsi/bpi-armm)

Members of the media ask queries to ARMM officials and representatives in a press conference held during the 18th Devolution Anniversary of DAF-ARMM. (Inset Photo) Officials (from left to right) were BPI-ARMM Executive Director Samsom Gogo, DAF-ARMM Asst. Secretary Bai Racma Ambolodto, DAF-ARMM Reg. Sec. Keise Usman and agricultural officers from different ARMM provinces. (omar mangorsi/bpi-armm)

DAF-ARMM celebrates 18th devolution anniversary

Cotabato City – The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) takes pride in its exemplary performance as it celebrates its 18th devolution anniversary.

The agency was devolved to the autonomous regional government in 1991 by virtue of Executive Order No. 460 signed by then President Corazon Aquino.
Keise Usman, DAF-ARMM Secretary, said that the agency’s full-devolution has made them more efficient and responsive to the needs of their clienteles in the region.

They were able to undertake critical programs that have boosted the region’s agriculture, he said.

Based on the data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), ARMM continues to lead in agri-fishery and seaweeds production in the country and ranks fifth in corn production. Moreover, its component province of Maguindanao ranks tenth in rice production.

“We would like to ensure our farmers and fisherfolks that we will be taking proactive stance to ensure the steady growth of our agriculture and economy,” ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan said in his message read for him by Exec. Sec. Oscar Sampulna.
Despite the ongoing conflicts in Maguindanao, overall agricultural yield in the province and the region as a whole remains cost-effective.

To mark the celebration, the agency turned over post-harvest facilities and equipment to identified beneficiaries in the different member-provinces of the ARMM and awarded special recognition to employees who have been with the agency for more than 30 years.

The anniversary also coincided with the culmination of the farmers and fisherfolks month, which is being observed on May of each year.
Usman said they would be working to increase the production of high-value commercial crops in the region. Likewise, the agency would intensify the promotion of organic farming and sustainable fishing.

DAF-ARMM currently provides regular training on organic farming including the preparation of organic fertilizers and vegetable production.

ARMM Executive Secretary, Atty. Oscar Sampulna Sr. delivers the Keynote Message of Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan during the 18th Devolution Anniversary of Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) and culminating celebration of Farmers and Fisherfoks Month on May 26 at DAF-ARMM Court, ARMM Compound, Cotabato City. Governor Ampatuan is grateful to the men and women of DAF-ARMM who persistently plan, formulate policies, implement and monitor projects and programs beneficial for the prime movers of ARMM’s economy – the farmers and fisherfoks. The activity is pursuant to Executive Order No. 460 dated May 17, 1991 and signed by President Corazon Aquino, devolving to the Autonomous Regional Government of the ARMM the powers and functions of the Department of Agriculture.

DAF-ARMM Regional Secretary Keise Usman expresses gratitude to ARMM officials, secretaries and directors of different ARMM line agencies and notably to his personnel during the 18th Devolution Anniversary of DAF-ARMM and culminating celebration of Farmers and Fisherfoks Month on May 26 at DAF-ARMM Court, ARMM Compound, Cotabato City. Sec. Usman remarked that the agrifishery department, in no way, would establish policies and standards for efficent operations and provide comprehensive services to farmers and fisherfolks, if not for the active support of the regional government and the people of the autonomous region.

ARMM officials grace the 18th Devolution Anniversary of Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) and culminating celebration of Farmers and Fisherfoks Month on May 26 at DAF-ARMM Court, ARMM Compound, Cotabato City. Shown here are (L-R) DAF-ARMM Reg. Sec. Keise Usman, ARMM Exec. Sec. Oscar Sampulna Sr., DAF-ARMM Asst. Sec. Bai Racma Ambolodto, ARMM Cab. Sec. Ulama Acad, and BPI-ARMM Exec. Dir. Samson Gogo.

Monday, May 25, 2009

DOH-ARMM intensifies preventive measures against “swine flu”

COTABATO CITY – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan directed the Department of Health in the ARMM to intensify surveillance and monitoring in order to detect influenza A(H1N1) cases early on and to make appropriate measures to combat the said disease.

In response to the order of the regional governor, DOH-ARMM Secretary Tahir Sulaik immediately directed his personnel to continue conducting 24/7 surveillance and monitoring to all points of entry - sea ports, terminals and airports and to all the hospitals, clinics and rural health units in the region.

The order came after the Department of Health National office announced that the country had two Filipino positive on the virus.

Sulaik calls on all the constituents of the region to be more vigilant and to immediately report any observations or cases related to the Influenza A(H1N1) or “swine flu” to their hotline no. (064) 421-6889.

As of today, DOH-ARMM has a reserved stock of Tamiflu capsules that could be used as precautionary measure against the disease.

PRO-ARMM all-set for opening of classes this June

COTABATO CITY – The Police Regional Office - Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) is all set to implement its security plan for the opening of classes for school year 2009-2010 on Monday, June 1.

PRO-ARMM Regional Director PCSupt Bensali Jabarani said that their security plan dubbed as “Balik Paaralan” is all set for implementation in the whole region. “Balik Paaralan” is under Letter of Instruction No. 25 issued by the National Headquarters of the Philippine National Police.

Jabarani directived all PNP units in the region to conduct surveillance and monitoring before and during the opening of classes on Monday not only to public schools but to include private schools.

Jabarani said that “Balik Paaralan” aims to prevent or suppress the occurrence of traffic and street crimes including the proliferation of prohibited drugs during the start of classes.

ThE PNP-ARMM Chief said concurrent with its mission and functions, they will conduct traffic directions, control and management, motorized security patrols and increase police visibility within the school zones and in commercial centers where schools are located to ensure the smooth opening of classes and to provide security to students.

The police all over the region, Jabarani said will provide 24/7 security to ensure the safety of the students and the institutions during the start of classes.

Meanwhile, Department of Education (DepEd)-ARMM is also set and ready on Monday, June 1 for the opening of classes in the whole region.

DepEd-ARMM Secretary Udtog Kawit said that DepEd personnel in the whole region including parents and students are conducting Brigada Eskwela in preparation for the opening of classes.

Brigada Eskwela is a regular program of the DepEd under Memorandum No. 155 series of 2009 signed by DepED Secretary Jesli Lapuz.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

DSWD-ARMM holds training to lessen poverty

More than a hundred individuals from different towns of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur train as enumerators, encoders and area supervisors for the National Housing Targeting System for Poverty Reduction project on May 13 at Cotabato City. The project implemented by DWSD-ARMM aims to reduce poverty incidents in the country through free education and health services as directed by PGMA on her 4Ps or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Friday, May 22, 2009

DENR-ARMM, Upi signs MOA on Forest Stewardship

COTABATO CITY – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-ARMM and the Local Government of Upi, Maguindnao signed a memorandum of agreement on Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) and co-management of the forest lands in the municipality. The project is a program of the DENR in cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Ecological Governance (EcoGov) Program.

DENR-ARMM Regional Secretary Kabuntalan P. Emblawa, Al-Haj and Upi Municipal Mayor Ramon A. Piang, Sr. signed the MOA last Monday, May 18, 2009 at the Estosan Garden Hotel here. The signing was witnessed by DENR-ARMM officials, municipal and barangay officials from Upi, provincial environment officers from Maguindanao, representatives from the Ecological Governance Program of the USAID and media practitioners.

DENR-ARMM Assistant Regional Secretary Alindatu K. Pagayao said that the FLUP is in pursuance of Muslim Mindanao Act 161 or the Regional Sustainable Forest Management Act (RSFMA) to enhance the ecological and environmental functions of the forest lands in Upi while increasing its resource capacity to support the sustainable livelihood and biodiversity of Upians.

“It will also be the basis for protecting, managing, utilizing and developing the forests and forest lands,” Pagayao said.

Pagayao said the program will cover 20,000 hectares of forest lands in 23 barangays in the municipality. He added that the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the area were also consulted through IP representatives in the program to strengthen the participation of the grassroots.

Secretary Emblawa said that Upi is only the second LGU in the ARMM who has completed and duly legitimized its FLUP through its Sangguniang Bayan. He said that the first municipality to complete and implement its FLUP is the municipality of Wao who had already received P3.9 million funding for the program.

“I would like to thank the USAID-EcoGov program for this strong support, with the hope that there would be more LGUs that would benefit from this project,” Emblawa said.

Mayor Piang said this project will greatly help the sustainable management of the forest lands of their town including its protection. Mayor Piang said that these forest lands cover five major watersheds in the area which includes Dimapatoy watershed which is the source of water in Cotabato City.

“This will also provide a venue for our grassroots in the co-management of our forests and forest lands. They will be assisted with livelihood programs without cutting the trees,” Mayor Piang added.

“In behalf of all the people in Upi, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for this partnership. Rest assured that we will do our very best not to frustrate what we have signed today,” Mayor Piang added. (BPI-ARMM)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

ASFP gets 'satisfactory' rate from World Bank

World Bank (WB) Team Leader for Implementation Completion Report (ICR), Mr. Doug Forno and WB Task Team Leader for Asia and the Pacific, Miss Mary Judd assess the over-all implementation performance of ASFP on its 3 project components – Community Development Assistance (CDA), Strategic Regional Infrastructure (SRI) and Institutional Strengthening and Governance (ISG) during the World Bank 12th Review Mission held in Cotabato City on May 12-15. Present during the assessment are ASFP Project Manager, Mustapha A. Sambolawan; ARMM Executive Secretary Oscar Sampulna Sr.; and BPI-ARMM Executive Director Samson Gogo. (BPI-ARMM)

World Bank rates ASFP ‘satisfactory’

COTABATO CITY – The World Bank 12th Review Mission has rated ‘satisfactory’ the implementation of the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP) during its recent assessment of the project on May 12-15.

Based on its Implementation Completion Report (ICR), the Mission scored ASFP’s over-all implementation performance on its three project components namely Community Development Assistance (CDA), Strategic Regional Infrastructure (SRI) and Institutional Strengthening and Governance (ISG) as ‘adequate and standard.’

ASFP Project Manager Mustapha A. Sambolawan said, “The ARMM regional government holds on to its undertaking of addressing the basic needs of poor communities. The ASFP is just the medium. We can modestly say that thousands of people in the target communities are now benefiting the services of these projects.”

The Mission, headed by Mr. Doug Forno, WB Team Leader for the preparation of the ICR, and Miss Mary Judd, WB Task Team Leader for Asia and the Pacific, scaled the ASFP’s performance from the unvarying growth rate of disbursement and activity outputs, minimal project management cost ratio and positive response of ARMM stakeholders, local government units (LGUs) and peoples organizations (POs).

During the wrap up meeting of the ARMM agencies involved in the project implementation, Forno said the satisfactory rating of the project can also be attributed to the strict adherence of the regional government to the standards set by the WB and the national government including manner of disbursements, procurement procedures and administrative management of the office.

The 12th Review Mission would be the last and final assessment of the WB to the ASFP before the closure and termination of the project on June 30.

During the ASFP Convention and Workshop of People’s Organizations, local government units and ARMM line agencies in Davao City last April 13-15, 2009, ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, in his message, said “The ASFP has been the champion of the regional government in introducing and supporting programs and projects that will alleviate poverty, improve health and education, and fast-track the regional economy.”

Earlier, stakeholders pointed out that ASFP’s approach in initiating projects in the communities has established transparency and accountability, unity in the grassroots, effective poverty-reduction strategy as well as increased visibility of ARMM line agencies.

In sum, ASFP had completed 1,828 CDA sub-projects [1,558 are Community-Based Infrastructure (CBI) and 270 are Learning Livelihood and Food Sufficiency (LLFS)]; 13 SRI sub-projects are now functional and in the process of procuring additional goods; and 22 Madaris (Arabic schools) had received accreditation from Department of Education (DepEd) and the remaining 21 are in the process per Program Contract (PC).

The Mission also lauded the ARMM regional government for the outstanding accomplishment and concluded that the impact of ASFP’s three project components (CDA, SRI and ISG) is generally evident in ARMM communities as services are increasing particularly in the conflict and poverty-stricken areas.

Regional Governor Ampatuan is optimistic that with ASFP’s ‘satisfactory’ grade, the World Bank will continue to extend its services for the people of the autonomous region.

“We all yearn for a peaceful environment in the ARMM that is why the regional government is exhausting all means to cultivate sustainable development. These projects did not only empower our communities, above all, improve the living conditions of the people in the region,” he stressed.

The ASFP is a $33.6 million program funded by the WB through a soft loan by the national government and given to the ARMM as a grant since 2003. (BPI-ARMM)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maguindanao Islamic School gets P2.7M

COTABATO CITY – The 52 year old-Shariff Aguak Ibn Ampatuan Islamic Memorial Academy of Maguindanao receives P2.7 Million financial assistance from the Department of Education (DepEd) to revolutionize its quality of teaching in line with DepEd Order No. 51 series of 2004 – implementation of Standard Madrasah Curriculum (SMC).

The DepEd Order No. 81, series of 2007, authorizes the grant of financial assistance to private Madaris (Arabic schools) for the implementation of SMC with the purpose of further strengthening peace and development in the country.

The SMC integrates Islamic Studies and Arabic Language (ISAL) [Qur’an, Aqeedah and Fiqh, and Seerah and Hadith] with Restructured Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC) subjects [English, Filipino, Math, Science and Makabayan].

Earlier, DepEd had alloted P19.2 million-aid for private Madaris all over the country and 80% of the fund (P15.6 million) is granted to Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), having the biggest number of Madrasah schools.

Undersecretary for Madaris Education, DepEd-ARMM, Shiekh Mohammad Faried S. Adas said, “The Shariff Aguak Academy envisions to be the center of Madaris education in the Philippines where students could achieve balanced education, both secular and divine knowledge.”

The Academy is formerly known Madrasah Rasheeda Labu-Labu in 1957 and took its new name in 2008. With its reconstructed stage, the site today has an area of five hectares where eight school buildings had already erected. Each classroom has a complete set of facilities including computers where students can learn during laboratory classes.

Further, the campus had set up a library, water reservoir, rest rooms and school van that could cater the presently enrolled more than a thousand Muslim students.

The Academy offers elementary to tertiary education with 43 ISAL and RBEC teachers, all are Asatidz (plural of Ustadz). The SMC is offered to Grades 1 and 2 while ISAL is from Grade 3 to Kulliyah (College).

The P2.7 million-financial aid will augment the full implementation of the Academy from old curriculum to SMC. It had started implementing SMC in School Year 2006-2007 with support from the Bureau of Madaris Education, DepEd-ARMM and Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao of Australian Agency for International Development (BEAM-AusAID).

Former Maguindanao governor Datu Andal S. Ampatuan Sr, the Academy’s president emeritus said, “We aim to produce academically competitive, socially and morally upright Muslim generation through the supervision of competent and dedicated Asatids.”

The Shariff Aguak Ibn Ampatuan Islamic Memorial Academy is one of the 26 pilot Madaris of ARMM that benefited DepEd’s financial aid. (BPI-ARMM)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan (right) listens while former Shariff Kabunsuan gubernatorial candidate Datu Tucao Mastura (left) expresses his sympathy about the explosion attack to his father’s convoy former Maguinadanao Datu Andal S, Ampatuan (2nd left) last May 15, 2009 in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao. Also in the photo is Mayor Datu Mohammad Paglas (3rd left) of Datu Paglas town. (omar mangorsi /bpi-armm)

Former Maguindanao Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr. (center) relates to his son ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan (right) and former Shariff Kabunsuan gubernatorial candidate Datu Tucao Mastura (left) the roadside explosion attack on his convoy last May 15, 2009 in Shariiff Aguak town that killed one of his farm workers and wounding three others. Mastura visited Ampatuan at his residence to express sympathy to the former governor.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

ARMM Madaris Chief awarded 2009 ‘Huwarang Mindanaoans’

COTABATO CITY – With his exemplary and exceptional service to brace the value of Madaris education to Muslim students not only in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but to the entire country, Undersecretary for Madaris Education, Department of Education-ARMM, Shiekh Mohammad Faried S. Adas received a special tribute as one of the 2009 Gintong Parangal sa Huwarang Mindanaoans on May 09 in Kidapawan City.

The Media Writers Association of the Philippines (MWAP) based in Manila selected ten oustanding achievers in the country who contributed economic progress as well as enriched the Filipino people in elevating social standard of living with their respective endeavors.

Mr. Joven Catriz, project manager of MWAP remarked, “Ustadz Adas displayed an incomparable determination in the field of teaching profession and government service. He has the greatest track record in the service of education especially in Muslim education.”

Adas has been consistent in pushing indispensable changes in Madaris program since his commencement in government service in 2001. For four years, he frontlines in beefing up Standard Madrasah Curriculum (SMC) with the existing Madaris curriculum in the country.

The SMC integrates the basic subjects such as English, Filipino, Math, Science and Makabayan with the Islamic Studies and Arabic Language (ISAL) such as Qur’an, Aqeedah and Fiqh, and Seerah and Hadith.

Adas, also the national chair of Qualifying Examinations for ISAL and team leader of Ocular Inspection of pilot Madrasah for ARMM exclaimed, “I thanked Allah for the award. This only manifests His words – you will reap what you sow. Prophet Mohammad also said that serving the people is the best career. So, no matter how gargantuan or small our task is, we will persist for the people we serve.”

Further, the Madaris chief thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan for the support citing, “this award is only addressed to me, but everything will not be possible without President Arroyo’s program for Madrasah education and Governor Zaldy’s collaboration for the intensification of the program.”

He also made mention former Maguindanao Provincial Governor Datu Andal Ampatuan’s continuous encouragement and support. “I paid homage to Datu Andal for this tribute. This made me grips my faith stiffer. We should thank Allah every big or small blessings we get.”

Also in the roster of ‘Huwarang Mindanaoans’ are Erenidad Tablazon, Justice Official of Barangay Making in Parang and Mayor Datu Allandatu Angas of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao. (bpi-armm)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BPI-ARMM activates guild of information officers

Cotabato City - The Bureau of Public Information-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BPI-ARMM) taps the help of information officers of the different line agencies of the ARMM in the efficient promotion of the programs and thrusts of the autonomous regional government.

BPI-ARMM called for a meeting of information officers yesterday to activate the Guild of Information Officers (GIO)-ARMM.

The guild has been organized around 2002 but never managed to embark on a sustainable undertaking relative to the purpose of its organization.

“We would like to ask the GIO to help us make information dissemination more efficient this time, allowing us to improve on the promotion of the peace and development activities of the region,” BPI-ARMM Executive Director Samson Gogo said.
He said they hope to be able to conduct a planning and training workshop with possible assistance from a donor agency to help improve the skills and competence of the guild’s members.

The new set of officers elected during the meeting will be finalizing the constitution and bylaws of the guild and spearhead its institutionalization with the guidance of the BPI-ARMM.

Its President, Kadiguia Abdullah of the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division (RAFID) of the Department of Agriculture (DA)-ARMM, asked for the active participation of all members and for the full support of BPI-ARMM.
ARMM Deputy Executive Secretary Atty. Ishak Mastura said that the lack of information dissemination would make it come out as if the regional government is doing nothing despite all its programs and projects.

He said information officers hold the crucial role of bringing to the knowledge of the public what their respective agency is doing.

The incumbent ARMM administration under the leadership of Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan puts high priority on improving the image of the region and spurring the support of all stakeholders in its development agenda by keeping them well informed.

Guild of Information Officers (GIO) - ARMM

BPI-ARMM Executive Dir. Samson Gogo administers the oath taking of the new set of officers of the Guild of Information Officers(GIO)-ARMM on May 13 at the Conference Hall, ORG-ARMM. GIO-ARMM has been organized to help promote the thrusts and programs of the Autonomous Regional Government.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

ARMM communities to benefit from agrarian projects

Agrarian reform communities (ARCs) in the five provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be among the beneficiaries of the second phase of the P8.6-Billion Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP 2).

ARCP 2 was launched Thursday in Davao City by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which funded the project, and officials from the ARMM and local head executives of target provinces.

The project aims to improve the lives of farmer-beneficiaries by increasing their agricultural yield, livestock production and introducing vital rural infrastructures.

ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan said that “farmers need all the help they can get not only to improve their lives but to help build a strong foundation for peace and development.”
ARCs are clusters of depressed barangays with farmer-beneficiaries awarded by DAR with agricultural lands. These communites are likewise recipients of other development initiatives from government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations and foreign donor communities.

ARCP 2 will target 152 ARCs in 18 of the poorest provinces in the country, which include the ARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

DAR has also entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with DAR-ARMM for the implementation of the third phase of the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP III) in the province of Lanao del Sur.

ARISP III aims to boost agricultural development by increasing productivity and employment.
The autonomous regional government has affirmed its commitment and support to the implementation of both projects.

Ampatuan assured stakeholders that they will contribute to the success and sustainability of the projects.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ampatuan appoints new regional labor secretary

Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has appointed a new secretary to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the ARMM effective May 4, 2009.

Ampatuan appointed Emmanuel Y. Alano, a resident of Basilan province. He replaced former DOLE-ARMM secretary Antonio Mariano who is reportedly being groomed as the new Deputy Governor for Christian Affairs.

Alano was also the department’s chief during the administration of former ARMM Governor Parouk Hussin.

The new secretary thanked Governor Ampatuan for the trust given to him. For his part, Alano said he will do his task to implement programs that will give jobs to the people in the region. He said he will work for the upliftment of the region’s workforce.

He also added that he will continuously check on the status of the private sector in the region. Alano believes the private sector is a strong partner in bringing development and in building the region’s economy.

Alano said that for now he will continue implementing the programs and projects of the department that will benefit the workforce and the populace of the region.

DOLE-ARMM is currently implementing the Special Program for Employment (SPES), Nurses Assigned in Rural Service (NARS) Program in partnership with the Department of Health-ARMM, conducts regular monitoring on establishments operating in the region and other regular programs geared in uplifting the lives of the workers in the region.