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July 29, 2023/MAGUINDANAO-BARMM. In the Philippines, July is a Nutrition Month with this year's theme "healthy diet, gawing affordable for all". Relevance to this theme is the inclusive provision of social services to indigenous people (IP) communities and other vulnerable groups in the six barangays in four municipalities of Maguindanao, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

This is through distribution of nutritious food packs to 480 beneficiaries coming from various sectors such as indigenous people, women and widows, solo parents, person with disabilities, orphans and elderlies.

For some we have talked to, the food pack received is beneficial to their daily meals, especially that they remain displaced due to unstable peace and order in their remote village in the uphill of the barangay.

"We often have two instead of three meals in a day because of little income. We do farming to sustain our daily needs. Right now, we are still at the temporary shelters provided by the BLGU because there is still a threat of armed conflict in our homes. We hope to have permanent homes because the condition is difficult."

The provision of food packs to vulnerable groups is in relevance to the SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition, specifically for Output 4.4 "access to basic social services and social protection projects of vulnerable/marginalized groups is improved".

The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) facilitated the distribution on July 29, 2023 for the first two barangays in Datu Hoffer. This was in partnership with the Raja Mamalo Descendants of Southern Philippines, Inc., Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUS) of Tuayan and Talibadok all in Datu Hoffer Maguindanao and in coordination with the Joint Task Force on Camps Transformation (JTFCT).

Partners from the BARMM and the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the Municipal LGU of Datu Hoffer and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joined the distribution.

The Ministry of Indigenous People's Affair (MIPA-BARMM) representatives from Offices of MP Froilyn Mendoza and MP Ramon Piang of BTA provided short information about the programs and services of their offices that the people may access and avail.

SUBATRA-ECSO as a project is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

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(MARCH 6, 2023/ TAWI-TAWI-BARMM). Eddinaira Mercera, 31, is a housewife and a mother of two living in Brgy. Malacca, Panglima Sugala Tawi-Tawi.

Her husband died in 2022 and together with her mother, she struggles to provide for their family by managing a small sari-sari store in their community.

Eddinaira is also working hard to pursue with her education and is hoping to become a teacher one day.  

When her husband died, she chose to continue the battle in life.

"I will continue to fight because this is our Qadr (fate). What I am looking right now is my children, because they are all I have and they are my strength," Eddinaira said.

As one active woman in their community, Eddinaira joined the organization of women formed in the village when the SUBATRA-ECSO Project came in 2022.

SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing Civil Society Organizations’ Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition is a project that provides inclusive assistance to vulnerable groups in the communities across BARMM that includes the women and the widows.

At first, Eddinaira was a secretary to the organization and has been elected as president of the group.   

The organization has recently undergone skills training from the project wherein hey learned about processing of native delicacies.

"We chose to make native delicacies because we know one day it will be known not only in Tawi-Tawi but in different places”, she remarked.

Eddinaira was in tears and was repeatedly expressing gratitude because the women in their community were given an opportunity to become more productive.

"We are very happy because, through this, women in our village will have more freedom towards progress”, she said.

Meanwhile, Tarhata Haraji from Brgy. Pasiagan in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi is also delighted by the learning acquired from the skills training.

They also learned about preparation of native delicacies that are unique in this island province.

"We want to introduce these native delicacies, especially now that the province of Tawi-Tawi is receiving more tourists where we can sell and generate income helpful for our families”, Tarhata said.

According to her, the process is known to some senior members of the community but they wanted to learn more especially for the young generation to promote and preserve these traditional dishes such as lara-lara (sili-sili), batang buruk, jintan, panyam, panganan, bawlo, hantak/kukus, doughnut-doughnut, jah, tapa-tapa and tok-ki.

Life in Tawi-Tawi is simple, most of the people's occupation is fishing, planting, and harvesting seaweeds is common source of income in the island province of Tawi-Tawi.

Through the SUBATRA-ECSO, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) is hoping to help these communities maximize their potentials by using available resources locally towards social enterprise development.

BDA Inc. is coordinating with BARMM agencies for more support to these local organizations to improve further their operation and become more sustainable.

SUBATRA-ECSO is being funded by the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

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February 15, 2023. The concept is to assist the locals in each village by producing goods out of the raw materials available in the community, which can result to potential source of income helpful for their families.

Since November 2022, 510 individuals (85% of those were women) from 18 barangays across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have undergone trainings on various enterprises through the support of the project SUBATRA-ECSO: Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Intervention in Support to Bangsamoro Transition.

In Brgy. Balakayon, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, SGA-BARMM, Fatima, who is leading the group happily reported that they have already initial savings from producing and selling banana products after the training in November 2023.

Women in Brgy. Tumbras, Midsayap, Nort Cotabato, SGA-BARMM is producing various goods from freshwater fish abundant in their community being near by the marsh.  

In Brgy. Looy, South Upi, Maguindanao, indigenous people (IP) group have already worked for land preparation for their vegetable production. Seedlings will be ready for planting after twenty days.

Group in Brgy. Mataya, Buldon, Maguindanao worked together in making herbal soaps out of plants available in their village.

Groups in two villages in Tawi-Tawi completed trainings on native delicacy production on February 6-12, 2023.

“We are grateful that despite the distance, we received this support from this project wherein we will be able to help our husband provide for our family. This assistance does not end here today, it will remain significant for us, forever that is why we are very thankful”, one woman from Tawi-Tawi said.

Two villages in Sulu learned about coconut processing. In Basilan, cassava processing and banana processing.

Women group in Lanao areas opted to improve their learning on palapa (a local spicy condiment common among M’ranao) processing.

Trainers to the said various trainings were service providers accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (TESD-MBHTE-BARMM), to whom the BDA Inc. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in October 2022.

Part of the support provided during the training were complete package of supplies and equipment per enterprise group that served as start-up capital towards sustainability.

BDA Inc. is currently coordinating with BARMM ministries for further assistance to these POs like registration, business training, organization development, among others.

The project is also looking forward for a product expo of the produced goods of these women groups during the planned donors’ forum by first week of March 2023.

SUBATRA-ECSO is funded by the European Union (EU) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

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June 17, 2022. The Bangsamoro Region has rich resources potential for economic development. People are hardworking. However, significant factors are there challenging the wish to become economically stable and sustainable.

In belief of this capability on economic progress in the region from the grassroots level, series of community consultations were organized across the provinces of BARMM including camp communities and indigenous people (IP) communities.

Participants to the consultations were women and widows. During the activity, participants shared information about the available raw materials potential for enterprise development. The process allowed them to identify and decide about the local enterprise that the project might support to help supplement their regular family income.

The process employed was the community-based enterprise planning technique (CEPT).

This effort to develop social enterprise at the community level is part of the on-going implementation of the SUBATRA-ECSO (Enhancing CSOs Capacities for Inclusive Development Interventions in BARMM in Support to Bangsamoro Transition), specifically for target output on helping improve the access to basic social services and social protection projects of vulnerable/marginalized groups in Bangsamoro.

Under the project, a social enterprise group is organized upon identification of their target produce for marketing. The project will provide them the necessary skills and training with the help of a third- party service provider. Tools and equipment needed for the enterprise development will also be afforded to the beneficiaries.

The plan is to help the people appreciate the available resources at the community level and utilize those materials, produce into saleable products from which they can have additional source of income to help their families.

The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) is the implementing office of the project together with partners civil society organizations (CSOs) such as Raja Mamalo Descendants of Southern Philippines, Inc., Ittihadun Nisa Foundation, Inc. (INFO), MILF Social Welfare Committee (SWC), Taga Youth Concern Association (Basilan), KABALIKAT Civicom (Sulu) and League of Bangsamoro Organizations (LBO for Tawi-Tawi island).

BDA and partners believe that providing communities with the skills and equipment motivates them to become optimistic of better life. It teaches them of self- reliance, resourcefulness and unity.


SUBATRA-ECSO works for the Component 4 of the Justice and Society Project of the SUBATRA Programme that helps BARMM lay the foundation for lasting peace and development in the region by strengthening the capacities of its institutions to establish an enabling democratic governance environment during the transition period. 

The Project generally aims to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro. It specifically intends to enhance the capacity of the civil society to contribute to a peaceful transition to BARMM.

It is funded by the European Union (#EU), and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (#AECID).

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