By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) plans to infuse micro-enterprise and livelihood projects for displaced Maranao residents as an integral part of the rehabilitation efforts for war-torn Marawi City, MinDA Chairman Manny Piñol said on Tuesday.
Piñol said officials of the Plan International, an NGO carrying out a USAID-funded Marawi rehabilitation program segment, welcomed his recommendation for MinDA to infuse in their intervention sub-projects on raising poultry and retail store enterprises as sources of additional livelihood for IDPs from the war-torn city and nearby towns in Lanao del Sur.
He tagged the poultry-raising venture as MinDA’s Livelihood Opportunities in Villages for Economic Upliftment (LOVE-U) program, and the retail store as “MinDA Tienda,” which is similar to emergency outlets his agency put up in earthquakes-affected areas in North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.
He said the “MinDA Tienda” for Marawi and Lanao del Sur will focus on organizing displaced Maranao women into a sort of cooperative and providing them capitals to operate retail stores in their respective communities.
Hundreds of displaced families currently sheltered in temporary camps within Marawi City have earlier complained of difficulty in buying basic commodities due to the absence of stores or a market place in their refuge centers.
The LOVE-U or communal poultry raising project, on the other hand, will be implemented in partnership with CPFood Philippines, a Thai multi-national company providing chicks, feeds, technical supervision, and facilities, and is buying the “production in excess of what the community needs,” Piñol said.
“During our meeting, I emphasized to the officials of Plan International that the success of these projects should be measured in terms of the reduction of the poverty incidence in the area,” he pointed out.
Lanao del Sur is recorded as the poorest province in the whole country with a poverty incidence level of 69%, Piñol said.
“The economic condition of the people (in Marawi and nearby Lanao del Sur towns) was greatly adversely affected by the conflict between the government and the terrorists who (laid siege in) Marawi City in 2017,” he said.
He said Lanao del Sur is one of the Mindanao provinces targeted for the implementation of the MinDA Tienda and the LOVE-U program.
Piñol said “MinDA envisions that by 2025, there will be no Mindanao province which will be listed as among the 10 poorest areas in the country.”
Currently, seven of the 10 poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao with Lanao del Sur ranked as No. 1 followed by Sulu, he said.