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Wednesday, 18 August 2021 02:56

Women in camp communities learn thru ALS

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(August 18, 2021). Aisa Makiwpa, 48, is a mother to seven children. The family rely on farming for living at Brgy. Datalpandan, Guindulungan, Maguindanao- a village covered by Camp Badre, one of the six major camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) informed by the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Aisa only reaches elementary education. Aware of her limited knowledge and literacy, she did not hesitate to avail the Alternative Learning System (ALS), an education program designed to cater the educational needs of those who were not able to access complete education due to protracted conflict in past.

“Because I only finished elementary, through ALS I had the opportunity to learn again,” Aisa said.

“The classroom being built that will serve as our school while we study ALS will also serve as a home for our children to learn. It will also be their classroom when we graduate” Aisa added.

She also mentioned that they have been in Brgy. Datalpandan for many years and its only in the recent years that they feel the so-called development.

With the on-going construction of the community learning in the barangay, Aisa like the other women at the village is excited to have more convenient educational facility. The construction is one of the components of the Camps of Learning Project (CLP)- aims to promote and support inclusive peace and development through programs on basic literacy with the implementation of #ALS in close coordination with the Department of Education or the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (#MBHTE in #BARMM) targeting vulnerable sectors in the #MILF camps communities (as informed by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro #CAB: Camp Abubakar, Camp Badre, Camp Bilal, Camp Bushra, Camp Omar and Camp Rajamuda) like women, out-of-school youth, indigenous people, elderlies, person with disabilities, others.



(AUGUST 18, 2021). Just before the all-out-war in 2000, Teng Kalidtuag, 44, of Brgy. Buldon, Barira Maguindanao already joined the armed forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He is one of the decommissioned combatants of the MILF chosen to undergo support such as capability building towards the overall goal of transformation from conflict to productive and progressive community, as informed by the Normalization Annex of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

As a father to four children, Teng believes that moving forward from the past will be helpful for his family. He is glad to be part of the decommissioned combatants. Various assistance like livelihood support await for these combatants in line with the intention to assist them transition into civilian lives.

Teng was one of the 30 participants for the first batch of Values ​​Transformation Training (VTT), which is among the capacity building support included in the socio-economic packages for the former combatants.

The training was on June 29 to July 1, 2021 at Molina Munoz Riverpool Resort in Parang, Maguindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

VTT teaches the significance of values and faith for personality development, self- change and understanding one’s behavior.

"The content of this training is not a joke, at my age I do not think that my knowledge can be further expanded and develop through values ​​transformation training," Teng said.

He was very thankful because despite the challenges they experienced he is proud to say that he was one of those who did Jihad and fought for Bangsamoro cause.  

During the training, his son informed him about the death of his mother-in-law, but in the desire to learn and finish the VTT, he did not go home.

"We will all go there (hereafter) too. Instead of going home I stayed, I just want to continue and I still want to know things about values and faith. While we are still alive, study and expand our knowledge," he added.

Through VTT, the majority of the participants were able to know their fellows better, and so far, have become closer and have bonded. All of them have only one desire and that is to learn and expand knowledge to strengthen their faith.

Another participant was Saidali Akmad who stated that “having faith-based practices will help the application of the so-called moral governance".

Saidali and Teng were among the 450 decommissioned combatants who joined the VTT.

VTT comes with the concept of moral governance, being adopted by the current Bangsamoro Government in propagating change in the region.

At present, there are already four batches of VTT organized for the decommissioned combatants. The training is jointly organized by the Nonviolent Peace Force and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) as facilitator of the training.  

(July 23, 2021/ COTABATO CITY). “When you give us beef, we can cook food that we rarely consume in a year, it helps with our meal for the day”, Rahma Talusob, 40, said upon receiving a meat pack on Eid’l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice).

Eid’l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) is one of the prestigious holidays in Islam. The festival is celebrated in honor of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim at the cost of his son’s life in the name of obedience and faith to the commandment of Allah (s.w.t).

Qurban meat is produced out of the animals (goat, sheep or cow) slaughtered during this occasion.

In observance of this significant celebration in Islam, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) has been implementing the Qurban Program since 2014 with the support of donor partners from Turkey.

For the year 2021, hundreds of cattle are slaughtered sponsored by various organizations in Turkey such as Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Turkiye Dyanet Vakfi, WEFA, Ravza and Sadaqatasi, with the BDA Inc. as local partner who facilitated the implementation of the Qurban Program.

Rahma, further told that “We are poor so there is no special dining during this day because we cannot afford. Now that you gave us this meat pack, I can prepare food that we rarely have on our family table”.

She is from Brgy. Central Labas, Midsayap, North Cotabato with two children and whose husband works as a farmer.

Beef contains several essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, pantothenate, magnesium, and potassium, all good for one’s health.

An elderly widow from Brgy. Tariken, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao is also thankful for receiving Qurban meat saying that is helpful to suffice her meal for the day, mostly that she lives by herself alone.

Another mother beneficiary was emotional when asked about their daily meal in the family, implying a poor situation of food security in the community.

In Bangsamoro Region, it is a fact that food security remains a challenge, especially during the times of pandemic. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has crafted its roadmap food security in nutrition in the Bangsamoro as one concrete action in addressing this significant concern in the region.

BDA Inc. with its years of managing the Qurban Program shared significant notes stating that “Through the years of implementing Qurban Program, the agency is witnessed as to how meat packs help supplement a meal for the day of the family- recipients, who are mostly poor and do not have enough resources to prepare something special during this annual Muslim celebration”, Engr. Windel Diangcalan, BDA executive director stated.

Further, distribution of Qurban meat become relevant in sending the true message of Eid’l Adha, wherein communities appreciate being reach out by the program despite the distance saying “by coming to us for this meat, we feel more of the spirit of Eid’l Adha, we feel important”.


(July 23, 2021). Each year, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid’l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice), a religious practice that reminds the Islam believers of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim in obedience and faith to the will of Allah subhanahuwataalah.

Animals like sheep or goat and cow are sacrificed in honor of this significant religious act. The meat from the animals are distributed to the poor families and communities. This good deed is encouraged among Muslims to foster empathy and mercy to people in need.

This year in Bangsamoro, hundreds of cattle are slaughtered sponsored by various organizations in Turkey such as Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Turkiye Dyanet Vakfi, WEFA and Sadaqatasi, with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) as local partner who facilitated the implementation of the Qurban Program.

Meat packs are distributed in different communities within and outside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In Brgy. Tariken, Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao, Member of the Parliament Ali O. Salik graced the Qurban meat distribution and expressed gratitude and prayer on this special occasion.

Hon. Salik thanked the Turkey Government for the love and support to Bangsamoro, by sponsoring Qurban Program in the region annually.

“Our well wishes for our brothers and sisters in Turkey. We also pray that the spirit of Eid’l Adha, may further strengthen our faith as we journey with our own Bangsamoro Government”, MP Salik told.

BDA Inc. with its years of managing the Qurban Program shared significant notes stating that “Through the years of implementing Qurban Program, BDA Inc. is witnessed as to how meat packs help supplement a meal for the day of the family- recipients, who are mostly poor and do not have enough resources to prepare something special during this annual Muslim celebration”, Engr. Windel Diangcalan, BDA executive director stated.

Further, distribution of Qurban meat become relevant in sending the true message of Eid’l Adha, wherein communities appreciate being reach out by the program despite the distance saying “by coming to us for this meat, we feel more of the spirit of Eid’l Adha, we feel important”.

Beneficiaries expressed thanks for the meat received on this significant Feast in Islam and how the meat provided helped families enjoy this day.

Rahma Talusob, 40, of Brgy. Central Labas, Midsayap, North Cotabato with two children and whose husband is a farmer is grateful for the meat obtained saying that she can cook something special for her family on Eid’l Adha.

“We are poor so there is no special dining during this day because we cannot afford. Now that you gave us this meat pack, I can prepare food that we rarely have on our family table”, Rahma stated.

There were thousands of meat packs that benefited thousands of families across the municipalities of Midsayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit and Aleosan in North Cotabato; Sultan Mastura, Sultan Kudarat, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Upi, Parang, Mangudadatu and Mother Kabuntalan in Maguindanao;

Distribution period was from July 20 to 23, 2021 facilitated by BDA Quick Response Team, with volunteers and development catalysts, MILF Political Committee, Social Welfare Committee, Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), coordination with local government units and other key stakeholders at the community level.

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).


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.


(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.

(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.


December 4, 2020. In all professions, values are important to guide the worker to be able to deliver compassionate service.

For Satria T. Andang, a head nurse in #Buluan District Hospital (#BDH) in Maguindanao, patience is significant in dealing with clients/patients.

"As health care worker, we must consider the life condition or status of our patients. We must understand that those people came to us (at the hospital) because they need our service. We should be the first one to adjust, and treat our patients with utmost respect and eqaulity", Nurse Satria told.

She was among the first batch of participants to the three-day values transformation training (#VTT) conducted by the #Bangsamoro Development Agency (#BDA Inc.) on November 26-28, 2020.

For her, participating into that training gave her relief inside. Sessions from the activity gave her many realizations in life.

“I was crying during the halaqat (study circle) session. I remember my parents, I felt guilty but I told myself that its not too late”, Nurse Satria stated.

VTT is a flagship program of BDA, that is designed to promote the importance of values in performing one’s duty in whatever profession, most importantly in the context of development and humanitarian works. Guided by the principle that change must begin with one’s self, VTT enlightens participants of self-development before one person can be an agent of change and development. Also regarded as peace building approach, VTT helps in promoting Universal Values, improving social cohesion between diverse culture and faith.

It has been a major program of BDA since its early days, employed in mobilizing and organizing its pool of volunteers that helped developed and enriched its human resources as development agency operating in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

To share the success of VTT, BDA has been organizing similar training not only for its staff but also to its partners and stakeholders, like of the health workers in BDH.

This 2020, BDA agreed with #MBHTE-TESDA of #BARMM to facilitate VTT with the scholars of skills training/vocational courses across the Bangsamoro region.

NOVEMBER 27, 2020. Through a ceremonial rite, a Teduray community in Brgy. Rifao, North Upi, Maguindanao rejoiced during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of WATER SYSTEM LEVEL II (SPRING DEVELOPMENT) this week in the said barangay.

Mary Jane Limao, 33 said that they are happy for this project because it will provide the whole community with safe water.

Her family and the rest of the people in the barangay are relying on a deep well to get water for daily consumption.

Up in the mountain, access to basic services is difficult for Mary Jane and the whole village.

"We go to the public market on weekly basis to get some of our needs. We walk for four hours to get there, and it is very hard, mostly when it rains because the road is not good", Mary Jane stated.

On health, medical workers visit at community every week.

Planting of vegetables and farming of rice, corn and other local crops like coffee is the source of living of many families in the Brgy. Rifao.


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