COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/17 January) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao launched Thursday a World Bank-patterned program that aims to address problems in reproductive health, basic services and governance.
Dubbed Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Growth and Empowerment (BRIDGE), the P170-million program will start next month in pilot municipalities in the region.
The program, patterned after the World Bank funded-ARMM Social Fund aims to boost the ongoing ARMM-HELPS or Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy that addresses maternal and infant deaths, malnutrition, access to basic and quality education, lack of livelihood, security and good governance in the barangays.
The new program also aims to serve as model for the future Bangsamoro region, which will be created via the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law now pending in Congress.
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman said civil society organizations will help monitor program implementation particularly the use of funds.
“All mayors must be active. If you find the requirements difficult, tell us and we might look for other towns where we can effectively implement this,” said Hataman.
Mayor Kits Guro of Matanog, Maguindanao said a coastal road in Barangay Kidama is the most important to them at this stage.
He said the road will help farmers and fisherfolk transport their products anytime.
He said they can only travel along the coastline during low tide.
BRIDGE is the first phase of a P22-billion program that will run in the next six years after the establishment of the Bangsamoro.
Among the pilot areas identified in the initial phase are the towns of Sumisip, Tipo-Tipo and Tuburan in Basilan; Balindong, Lumba-Bayabao, and Taraka in Lanao del Sur; Barira, Datu Anggal Midtimbang and Matanog in Maguindanao; Pandami, Parang, and Talipao in Sulu; and Sibutu, Simunul, and Tandubas in Tawi-Tawi.
Of the P170-million for the initial phase, P120 million will come from the ARMM fund, and P50 million from savings from the ARMM Social Fund. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)