Delivering education during COVID-19 is a challenge for every educator. From face-to-face teaching, the mode of learning shifted to modular and online classes.
The teachers in Sakeenah Al-Islamiyah Institute, a Madrasah (School) offering Tahderiyyah (Kindergarten) in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) chose to stay positive about the current situation as they perform their duties as educators.
Samsia Nasrudin, 26, is a kindergarten teacher for four years in Sakeenah Al-Islamiyah Institute. For her, teaching during a pandemic is very different from the regular mode of teaching. Yet, she finds ways to fulfil the right of children to an education.
“First, we have blended mode of teaching - one is modular, and another is through online. There are topics that are difficult for the children to understand. As an alternative, we provide audio recorded materials and send these to the parents e.g. for Du’a (supplication) for Islamic Studies and Arabic Language (ISAL) subject,” Teacher Samsia said.
To deliver education in the new normal, the school initiated tutoring for children with the support and permission of the Municipal Local Government Unit of Sultan Kudarat.
“We started tutoring three months ago for those lectures that were hard to understand by the pupils. Still guided by the health protocols, we teach five children per session, once a week,” Teacher Samsia shared.
Her fellow teacher, Hannan Guimba, 23, is teaching the curriculum for 4-5 years old in the same school for three years. She shared that teaching is also a learning for her, as she develops love in handling younger children.
“I wanted to teach higher grades, but I realized that I am enjoying teaching younger children. Teaching Tahderiyyah is also a chance to refresh my knowledge, especially on Islamic related topics”, Teacher Hannan stated.
Teacher Samsia and Teacher Hannan are both participants to the Tahderiyyah Training supported by BDA and UNICEF in December 2020, where they acquired new knowledge that enhanced their capacity in teaching early learning.
“We learned about the modalities for the Tahderiyyah Curriculum, given the new normal. It was helpful and we adapt it to our class schedules. We also learned about new modules to add to our instructional materials”, the teachers said.
From the training, Teacher Samsia became one of the trainers.
Sakeenah Al-Islamiyah Institute, formerly a Traditional Madrasah, evolved into an Integrated School, acquired the Permit to Operate from the Department of Education in 2015 and now with the Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE). From implementing Tahderiyyah curriculum for the 3-4 and 5-years old children, the school is now catering up to Grade IV pupils.
The school reported an increase in the number of students enrolled at this time of pandemic (from over 120 last school year to over 140 at present), since there is difficulty for some parents who were previously sending their children to the City, due to restrictions in transportation.
Sakeenah Al-Islamiyah Institute has been a recipient of the Tahderiyyah Project in the past years along with other Tahderiyyah Schools within and outside BARMM, and recently for the institutionalization and expansion of the project with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) as local implementing partner together with the Ittihadul Madaris Bil Philippines, Inc. (IMBPI) and support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Japan (GoJ).
(March 30, 2021). M’ranao families in Sitio Kura-Kura, Brgy. Tamparan, Lanao del Norte- Camp Bilal is hopeful and happy to welcome the month of Ramadhan (a month of fasting in Islam) now that their village will be brighter as the solar street lights are installed and officially turned over on March 24, 2021 along the newly constructed access road in the community. Ramadhan this year is expected to start on 2nd week of April.
The project is funded through the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project Phase III (MTF-RDP/3), in support to the Confidence Building Initiatives for the Camps Transformation stated in Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
“There were few people residing here, before because of the isolation and difficult access. Now we see development and people are coming to build their homes in Sitio Kura-Kura”, Ibrahim
Camp Project Support Team (CPST) of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) reported that the place is identified by Task Force on Camps Transformation (TFCT) as center of development of Camp Bilal, one of the six major camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) acknowledged in the CAB of 2014 for transformation from conflict to productive communities.
The community has been receiving development projects such as agri-facility building, farmer’s training center, road projects, health facility along with various interventions that promotes community empowerment and enlightenment. (R.Adam)
March 30, 2021. According to Normina Atoy, a farmer in Brgy. Kinebeka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao (CAMP BADRE), the training is a great help for them farmers to improve their agriculture practices.
“Farming is our source of income; we have been doing it all our life, and only now that we learned that useful information to make our farming more convenient and competitive” Normina said.
She added that farming has been expensive for them since they have to buy pesticides and fertilizers. Through the training, they knew local alternatives that can be produced to supplement the nutrition of farm crops and can help prevent pests from destroying their plants.
“If only we knew this in the past, life would be easier. Now we are motivated and determined to apply all that we learned”, Normina told.
She said that farming gives fair income to the family. Capital usually reaches to Php 20, 000.00 for one hectare of land and the gains after the harvest is more or less Php 40, 000.00
With rich agricultural land, farming is one primary source of income in the province of Maguindanao.
The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) provided the training inputs and lectures to hundreds of farmers and other sectors during the series of productivity trainings conducted like rice and corn production, vegetable farming, peanut processing, native chicken, others.
The Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) through accredited partners organizations facilitated training on banana processing, food processing, others.
Meanwhile, trainings on coconut oil and virgin coconut oil processing was facilitated by Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), while indigenous people group from Koronadal City taught elderly sectors on crafting and weaving of native products.
Productivity training is one sub-component of the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project Phase III (MTF-RDP/3), implemented in support to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). It covers the six previously acknowledged camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) namely Camp Abubakar as Siddique in Maguindanao, Camp Badre in Maguindanao, Camp Bilal in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur, Camp Bushra Somiorang in Lanao del Sur, Camp Omar Ibn al-Khattab in Maguindanao and Camp Rajamuda in North Cotabato and Maguindanao.
Partnership with BARMM ministries and offices is also one component of MTF-RDP/3 through mainstreaming activities that aims to promote collaborative approach for better services to Bangsamoro communities. BARMM ministries engaged in the mainstreaming are Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform, Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education, Ministry of Interior and Local Government, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Ministry of Public Order and Safety, Ministry of Social Services and Development, Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy and Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority.
Recently, the project organized a joint field mission with BARMM ministries to camp communities where community interaction and project site visit were undertaken.
Under the MTF-RDP/3, various socio-economic infrastructure (SEI) projects are underway both community sub-projects and health sub-projects, designed to help improve the access of community beneficiaries to basic socio-economic services.
The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) is taking the role as project implementing unit (PIU) for MTF-RDP/3. BDA was established in 2002 out of the GPH-MILF Tripoli Agreement of 2001; and was officially registered as non-government organization in 2019 after the Bangsamoro Government was established. MILF Chairman Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim and Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag in a virtual meeting in July 2020 with the World Bank underscored that the MILF remains committed to support development projects through the BDA Inc.
SOUTH UPI, MAGUINDANAO / 22 March 2021. It’s two o’clock in the morning. The weather is cold and it is dark. But, like many of the families in Brgy. Looy in South Upi, Maguindanao. Flora Lamigan, 31 has to get up to join the queue of those who like her, need to fetch water from the deep well located in the hidden and lower part of the village.
In the Philippines, the dry season is approaching, and the whole community is anticipating the same scenario. In the country, summer season starts by March until May.
According to Flora, the deep well is the only source of water available in the village when it is dry season.
“During this period, spring and other sources of water in our barangay run dry. This deep well is the only one left, since it is located in lowland of our mountainous community”, Flora said.
South Upi is known to be a summer capital of Maguindanao province. It is found in the mountains of the province and it gives cool breeze, just enough for the hot weather from City and other lowland communities. Farm lands are rich giving plenty of agricultural products, the main source of income for many in the whole town.
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(COTABATO CITY/ March 19, 2021). Peace advocates from all walks of life joined the call for the extension of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to 2025. BTA is the body created responsible for the executive and legislative functions to build the foundation of Bangsamoro Government, established after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in 2018.
In a report, the recent peace caravan on March 18, 2021 organized by the Civil Society Movement for Moral Governance (CSO-MMG) led thousands of four-wheeled vehicles and hundreds of single motor cycles, plus the significant numbers of supporters along the parade route.
Said caravan kicked off in Cotabato City and journeyed through the municipalities of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Guindulungan, Shariff Aguak, Esperanza, Isulan, Tacurong City, Buluan, Datu Paglas, M'lang, Matalam, Pagalungan, Kabacan, Datu Montawal, Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, and back to Cotabato City.
The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) participated to this peace caravan. As development agency established out of the peace process between (GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement of 2001), it is one responsibility of the BDA Inc. to support related undertakings that are all geared towards a long-lasting peace for all.
(March 15, 2021). In this era of development in the Bangsamoro, women rise and recall stories of sacrifices in times of war.
Ustadza Halima Hashim of Brgy. Inug- ug, Pikit, North Cotabato in a speech during a turnover ceremony of water system project, recalled that in times of battle “we could not meet and convene like this; we get water from marsh for daily use”.
She spoke about gratitude and dedication.
“We have to be grateful for all this development happening at present. We remember those who sacrificed, those who shed blood. They are not with us anymore, today”, the respected-woman told.
She added “now that we see this development, we have to work together and harder”.
Ustadza Halima is a sister of the late MILF founding chairman Salamat Hashim. She possesses a leadership charm, being the chair of MILF Social Welfare Committee (SWC) Liguasan Province. As a woman-leader in the woman-wing of the MILF, she has the respect, trust and support of fellow women members, other stakeholders and of the whole community.
(BRGY. NABALAWAG, BARIRA, MAGUINDANAO-CAMP ABUBAKAR). Hasana Balitok of Brgy. Nabalawag, Barira, Maguindanao- Camp Abubakar can still remember the past where she witnessed and experienced life in war and evacuation.
“Young I was, I saw the struggle of our people, our community during the time of war”, she said.
In teary eyes, she cannot help but share joy seeing the development coming in to their village.
“I’m really happy that at present, community needs are being responded like this road project”, Hasana stated.
She shared that Brgy. Nabalawag, was really a remote area. People would struggle to get living, away from civilization. There were no roads and bridges so the community would really endure the long walks and hard ways in order to access basic needs from nearest market.
“It was really difficult e.g., for sick people, because it takes really hard times to get to the adjacent health facility, and there was no means of transportation, only horses or by people carrying the sick with a blanket. Once, an animal died by crossing the river to transport local crops”, Hasana told.
Hasana is the vice president of Nabalawag Peace and Development Organization, a people’s organization mobilized through the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project (MTF-RDP Phase II and III)- implemented in support to the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Brgy. Nabalawag received road project from MTF-RDP that helped improved the access of the community to basic services such as health, education and livelihood.
For Hasana, it significant to involve women in development activities.
“In our case with our organization, I as vice president support our leader, who have less educational background. We do not think that way, instead, we help him in order for our organization to grow- because in unity we will progress together as one community”, Hasana added.
She said that NPDO is looking forward to establish own office to be able to function better as organization, working for the development of the whole community, which past is defined by war and isolation but with future inspired by common aspiration to become progressive.
(BRGY. SANDAB BUTIG, LANAO DEL SUR- CAMP BUSHRA). Naira Bimbad, 54, from Brgy. Sandab Butig, Lanao del Sur (CAMP BUSHRA) lost their three children during the time of all-out-war in 2000. It was in heavy heart that they (with her husband) went home after the war, without their kids. Naira and husband moved on and now have five children. Naira sees better future for her family, with the recent peace and development in the region.
She was among the farmer- participants to the recent training on peanut processing, as one sub-component of the MTF-RDP/3.
Naira is thankful of the training and is now confident to improve their farming methods and become more productive for her family.
(BRGY. KINEBEKA, DATU ODIN SINSUAT, MAGUINDANAO- CAMP BADRE). Cely Abdul, 60 of Brgy. Kinebeka, DOS, Maguindanao never taught that development would come to them in the mountains.
“We live in this remote area, almost difficult to reach. It was difficult for us women to go to the market. Public transport only comes once a week, so there was really a struggle to get basic commodities for living”, she recalled.
Cely is thankful for the development coming to their community and is now leading the other women in the village to become participative in development activities.
“I told them (women) to go out, learn time management and become productive. Find other means to help earn income, to have improvement for their families”, she said.
Cely is a Teduray, married to Muslim and is looking forward to strengthen and sustain their organization in Brgy. Kinebeka, especially now that the construction of agri-facility building is soon to be completed where women sector will have
(BRGY. SANIAG, AMPATUAN, MAGUINDANAO- CAMP OMAR). Janet Saligan, 54, a Teduray in Brgy. Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao recalls that during armed conflict in the past years, they would spend nights by the mountains to watch over the process of charcoal making, where they earn income for their family of eight.
“It was difficult. I told my husband to better stay at night to ensure that we can produce charcoal because, sometimes, if something went wrong during the process then our hard work will be wasted. Charcoal making is our alternative source of income when farming failed due to pests attack”, Janet told.
She added that “it was really hard during those times, we have to climb the mountains, there was no good road like now, then peace and order was not stable. There was fear in us but we have to live so we went on”.
Janet joins the group of elderly sectors in learning to produce native products made of local fern abundant in their mountainous village. She intends to share the skills acquired from the training to help her community become productive.
(BRGY. TAMPARAN, MUNAI, LANAO DEL NORTE- CAMP BILAL). Parents in the barangay especially the mothers are happy about the farmers’ training center constructed in December 2020.
“We wanted to join community activities. But we cannot leave our children at home unsupervised by adults. This center is helpful because we have this formal venue for community gatherings where we can get involved while there is a space for our children within the building, so it is convenient for us”, mothers told.
The role of women in peace and development is irrefutable. The stories of Halima, Hasana, Naira, Cely and Janet speak of the vital part of the women in advancing the welfare of their communities. The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) recognizes this reality in relevance to inclusiveness as one value the agency upholds. In 2020, thirty percent of BDA’s staff were women. Same percentage is also true for one project in Upi, Maguindanao, where women were employed for the implementation of water system project responding to the needs of the community. Fifty percent of the total beneficiaries for the camps project are women.
In the Philippines, March 8, is declared as National Women’s Month (RA6949). Various laws related to women rights and protection includes Anti- Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, Anti-Rape Law of 1997, Anti-Trafficking in Person of 2003, Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children (VAWC) in 2004, among others.
(COTABATO CITY/ March 5, 2021). The establishment of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is a product of the decades- long Bangsamoro struggle. Bangsamoro as identity of people are not only those who are in communities within the BARMM. There are millions of Bangsamoro who are residing outside the BARMM areas, and these people remain committed to the Bangsamoro cause for peace and development, and they wanted information and guidance from Bangsamoro leaders.
On February 27, 2021, over a hundred of Bangsamoro communities in Malapatan, Sarangani convened with the common interest to hear updates from Bangsamoro leaders and with the intent to understand how can they ask for assistance as people with challenges on access basic social services.
Chairman of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Political Committee of Sugoda Buayan, one of the provinces in Southern Mindanao, stated in a message that the Bangsamoro communities in their areas, remain committed to peace and development, that they want to hear guidance from Bangsamoro leaders about their roles and functions as community members and local counterpart of the MILF.
The Sugoda Buayan community is also calling for support from Bangsamoro leaders e.g., scholarship programs, health assistance, others. Sugoda Buayan covers the municipalities of Malapatan, Glan, Gumasa, Malungon, Maasim, Alabel in Sarangani province and the City of General Santos.
In a statement, representative from Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) explained the processes how Bangsamoro communities outside BARMM can avail services from the government with proper coordination and communication.
“You can direct your concern about agriculture related assistance to MAFAR-BARMM, but you have to understand that we should coordinate with Region XII, since your municipality is within this region”, MAFAR-BARMM told.
Sheikh Khalifa Nando, Wali of the Bangsamoro, told that the leaders of the Bangsamoro have equal responsibility for both communities within and outside BARMM. He stressed that “only there are differences since the priority at present is on governance”.
BARMM was established in 2018 with the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). It is now running for a transition period until 2021 with a majority of officials appointed from the MILF.
‘We are speaking with Bangsamoro communities outside BARMM because we wanted to make you feel that we do not forget about you. We cannot forget about your situation and your voices remain with us as we work for the Bangsamoro Government”, Sheilk Nando told.
He urged the non-BARMM Moro communities to support the call for moral governance because “this is the government that will benefit all of us, because it is a product of the peace process that we all struggled for, in the past two decades”.
Another speaker from the activity further advised the attendees that “establishing BARMM does not mean employment for every Bangsamoro, it means remaining committed to continue the Bangsamoro struggle”.
Representative from the Office of the Secretariat of the MILF Central Committee spoke of the current situation of the MILF, leading the Bangsamoro Government, doing the governance role compare to its functions as revolutionary organization.
Participants to this gathering were coming from various line committees of the MILF such as political committee, da’wah, social welfare, shari’ah, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), Bangsamoro Women’s Auxiliary Brigade (BWAB), and people’s organizations like Taluya United Community Association, Sapu masla Association for Peace & Unity and Tuyan Muslim Christian Blaan Organization. Barangay Local Government Unit of Sapu Masla, Malapatan, Sarangani welcomed all the attendess, guests and visitors to the event.
Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) provided assistance in organizing and facilitating this significant gathering intended to contribute in sustaining the trust, confidence and commitment of Bangsamoro people, within and outside BARMM, over the peace process.
Created in 2002, BDA Inc. has been managing various programs and projects in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, which are covered within the agency’s six regional offices namely Central Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Davao, Ranaw, Zamboanga- Peninsula and Zamboanga-Basilan and with the provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
For this event, BDA Inc. mobilize its regional office in Southern Mindanao where different development projects were implemented in the past years and still operating and have been expanding through the sustained commitment and unity of the people’s organizations in these areas.
Now operating as non-government organization, BDA Inc. upholds a mandate for relief, rehabilitation and development services within and beyond BARMM, and is looking forward to strengthen further development initiatives for the Bangsamoro communities outside BARMM.
(February 19, 2021). At Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), values transformation training (VTT) is one approach towards peace building.
With VTT, the BDA Inc. was helpful in communicating the message of peace. The VTT as peace building mechanism of the agency contributed in increasing awareness and education on the differences of beliefs, culture and traditions, which is one major cause of great misunderstanding between and among various groups in the region.
“Impressions from participants who are non-Muslims e.g., the indigenous people, are very good. According to them, through VTT, they learned that Islam is peace. They learned that it teaches good values, different from what they previously heard or perceived”, Ahmad Ronnel Alamada, a VTT trainer stated.
“As VTT facilitator, it is very fulfilling for me that despite the hard road and other difficulties, we are helping in communicating the message of peace”, Alamada added.
Participants from Buluan District Hospital (BDH) also speak good of VTT in their life and workplace.
“Our non-Muslim co-employees would voluntarily offer us Muslims, that they are willing to take charge our responsibility (for a while) if it is time to prayer. This is because they knew from VTT, that Muslims have to perform daily prayers five times a day”, Maisarah Lumawan, BDH administrative officer said.
VTT, a three-day training program of BDA Inc. teaches personality development by letting the person know himself to understand strengths and weaknesses, have better directions and clearer identification of one’s self.
One participant shared that this particular session is significant to know herself better, and assess her shortcomings and capacity as individual. “This way, I know what and how to improve to become a better person”, she stated.
Carrying the importance of values in performing one’s tasks, VTT helps in reminding participants the spiritual aspect of life, which is commonly less prioritized by many nowadays.
“We grew up as Muslim, thinking that we know everything about being a Muslim. Through VTT, we realized that we have been doing many mistakes in life. From dressing up, our relationship with our parents, and others. Now I am gradually changing to correct those things”, Satria Tudon- Andang shared, BDH chief nurse who underwent VTT from BDA Inc. in 2020.
VTT in support to values-based healthcare service
In December 2020, BDA Inc. was honored to facilitate VTT to a health institution in Maguindanao. Buluan District Hospital, operating since 1975 has been catering to the health needs of people from six districts in the province and other nearby municipalities.
“For the past years, it was the first time that we have this kind of training that reminds us of the importance of values-based healthcare service. This VTT is very helpful because as health professionals, we are dealing with life and death. More than the TLC that is being taught to us, we should be mindful that our services to people shall anchor to the spiritual aspect of life. We should work with empathy and a smile to our clients”, BDH Lumawan told.
Values training in support to moral governance
The road to peace building does not end by settling all the conflicts between individuals, groups, families or groups. Neither by the winning of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) nor the establishment of the Bangsamoro Government. The continuing learning to sustain the gains of peace building in the Bangsamoro Region must be carried in order to address the dynamics that keep on challenging the peace efforts in this part of the country.
Through VTT, the BDA Inc. has been helpful in conveying moral governance. With contents on the teachings of Universal values in relation to religion, values training is very significant to the moral governance of BARMM, as it promotes ethical standards of development and public service.
Kadafi Tunggal, BDA focal person on VTT reported that there are over 7, 000 of MBHTE scholars (through TESDA program) in the five provinces of BARMM who underwent values training from BDA Inc in 2020. Employees from regional center of TESDA in Maguindanao also learned VTT.
BDA Inc. started facilitating VTT for BARMM employees in 2019 by the trust and partnership of various ministries/offices like the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED-BARMM).
At present, series of meetings are taking place between BDA Inc., Development Academy of the Philippines (DAB) and the Bangsamoro Leadership Management Institute (BLMI) in relation to VTT as one approach to promote moral governance.
The VTT teaches the importance of values to be practice at all times, from self, family, to school, workplace, others. This teaching on value-based actions and services is very significant to the moral governance of BARMM, as it promotes ethical standards of development and public service.
The change that everyone wanted must start with one’s self. This has been the advocacy of the BDA Inc.- the development agency of the MILF, established in 2002 and registered as non-government organization in 2019.
“VTT has been our strength from the very beginning. It is our weapon as we organize and mobilize our pool of volunteers and development catalysts who are our strong foundation at BDA Inc. from the very beginning of our life as an agency”, Engr. Windel Diangcalan, BDA executive director said.
(February 10, 2021) In the remote area of Brgy. Palao sa Buto in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao (CAMP RAJAMUDA) people have to buy safe water from the town center (8 kilometers).
Zarima Ulangkaya, a mother of nine shared their struggle in the community for clean water for their families.
The family of Zarima rely on farming as source of income like many of other families in the village.
“We have deep well as source of water for our daily life. But it is not safe for drinking. We have to buy from the town center”, Zarima said.
She added that the water from the deep well can only be used for washing dishes and clothes, and for bathing.
“Sometimes, some water source cannot provide usable liquid because of the high salt content, that does not work for soap or detergents” Zarima told.
For the community, fetching water from the deep well is difficult, but what is harder is the access to safe water.
“One-gallon of clean water costs P15.00, that is good for three days for drinking only. For our family, we can buy three gallons but for others who can only buy one gallon, it is difficult because the transportation cost (P100.00) is more expensive than the water fee”, Zarima explained.
On February 9, 2021, Zarina and the whole community of Brgy. Palao sa Buto may start telling better stories of their access to safe water. The barangay has officially received a solar-powered water system project through the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project Phase II (MTF-RDP/2).
The turnover ceremony was held on the said day that marked the official acceptance of the People’ Organization in the barangay on the responsibility over the management and operation of the project.
Women involvement in camps development project is highly regarded as the MTF-RDP/2 employs community-driven development (CDD), where participation of all sectors in the community is encouraged for consultative and inclusive project approach that is helpful in promoting ownership, transparency, accountability and sustainability.
In 2019, 52% of the over 50, 000 total number of beneficiaries across the six major camps are women.
The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) as project implementing unit of the MTF-RDP/2 reported that quality, safety and compliance of the project implementation of water system are considered taking into account the agreed standards and policies of the World Bank- the fund administrator of the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF).
Selection of the project was decided based on the series of consultations and meetings with the various stakeholders and the Task Forces on Camps Transformation (TFCT- MILF), who are combatants selected to undergo capacity building to transition their mindset from conflict to development.
MTF-RDP/2 was agreed in 2018, with the common aspiration to sustain the momentum of the peace process between the GPH-MILF, this time focus on the six previously acknowledged major camps of the MILF as informed by the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
The project was building on the 10 years of experience of community- driven development (CDD), the Phase I of the MTFRDP (2006-2017).
It now covers selected villages in the six major camps of the MILF (Abubakar, Badre, Bilal, Bushra, Omar and Rajamuda).
In its development plan launched recently, BARMM reported that in 2018, 55% of households in ARMM have access to safe drinking water.
(February 3, 2021). People in three of four barangays in camp communities has to endure long travel time before reaching the nearest health facility. This was based on the initial findings from recent community visits in the camps, in relevance to the health sub-component of the community development assistance under the Mindanao Trust Fund- Reconstruction and Development Project Phase III (MTF-RDP/3).
The assistance on health for MTF-RDP/3 is intended to expand the services for camp communities, considering the poor health condition in remote areas, further the current threat of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Part of this support is the series of orientation on COVID-19 that helped in raising the awareness and understanding of camps people on this infectious disease. Topics were defining COVID-19, signs and symptoms, preventive measures, among others.
In one meeting with BARMM agencies, Ministry of Health (MOH) expressed support to the program sharing the belief that indeed, people in distant areas have poor access to correct information, which is quite disturbing for their health, safety and overall being.
“You would see that people in the camps are in good condition. Many still believe in traditional healing methods. But as health professionals, it is our responsibility to help these people understand better the importance of health e.g. maternal care, vaccination, etc.”, Carolyn B. Piang, BDA Inc. public health officer stated.
BDA Inc. is looking forward to conduct survey on the health status in camp communities to determine needs in these remote areas and possibly come up with specific intervention, in the near future.
Also included in health services is the education on reproductive health, child care, blood donation, others.
Visit to rural health units in the project sites was also relevant part in supporting camps communities in terms of medical services.
Recently, health workers selected to assist health programs in camp communities underwent training on first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The activity was facilitated by Philippines National Red Cross (PNRC)- Cotabato City Chapter.
Participants also had the chance to visit community birthing clinic in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao- where they learned how this simple birthing facility was able to grow and develop, with the spirit of committed service for communities in need.
Health workers from Amanah Birthing Clinic and PNRC both told participants to be guided by commitment over employment in practicing health profession.
“By simply responding to a question on what to do for headache, is already a service that you render.”
Participants expressed thanks for the training, with many of them having the said training for the first time. Through this activity, they understand further their roles and responsibilities in providing health services in camp communities.
This training is part of the MTF-RDP/3- a project supporting the implementation of the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Health facilities are also underway through MTF-RDP/3. There will be one unit of health facility for each of the six major camps covered by the project. The construction started in January 2021.