By Yas Ocampo and Ali Macabalang
DAVAO CITY/COTABATO CITY – The Regional Government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao broke ground at the construction site of at least 100 core shelters in Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao in ceremonies held Wednesday.
Construction works will be supervised under the ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment (BRIDGE), a regional program carrying out convergent efforts for economic and infrastructures in the autonomous region.
ARMM, which is turning 29 years in November this year, is set to be replaced by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) under RA 11054, which the Duterte government enacted in pursuit of two major peace pacts forged by Malacañang with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2013 and 2014.
At the ceremony, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said the core shelter project will fill in a perceived vacuum of infrastructure projects in Datu Blah Sinsuat town.
“Noong unang punta ako sa Datu Blah, ang nakita ko lang ay covered court, ngayon madami nang mga buildings na naitatayo at may municipal hall pa. Ang kalsada ay papalapit na ng papalapit dito sa Barangay Pura, ibig sabihin ay umabot na din ng Barangay Matuber,” Hataman said.
“Lahat ng proyekto na ito ay hindi proyekto ni Mujiv Hataman kundi ng gobyerno at lahat ng proyekto ng gobyerno ay nagmula din sa mga tao ang pera na ginamit dito. Dapat ibinabalik lamang namin sa inyo,” he told recipient villagers.
Datu Blah Sinsuat Mayor Raida Tomawis-Sinsuat hailed the regional government for its efforts to “rescue” her town from the absence of an internal revenue allotment as a result of controversial processes leading to its creation along with seven other municipalities in Maguindanao over a decade ago.
With a budget of P2.5 billion, the ARMM-BRIDGE program aims at improving the living conditions of 7,000 families in the region within the year. Each shelter project is built-in with water system and a solar panel for light source.
Aside from housing units, project beneficiaries will also receive supplies including a sack of rice and other essential food items and hygiene kits that will last for a month.