ARMM residents fear fighting will affect power projects

This led the Barangay Renewable Energy and Community Development Association (BRECDA) to appeal to the government to consider the plight of the poor residents of ARMM, especially in Sulu and Basilan, before it gives its go signal to its troops to attack the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.

“The gains of the peace process between the Philippine government and the MILF will end up nothing if fighting will erupt in Mindanao,” it said in a statement.

Members of BRECDA are recipients of power projects of the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (AMORE) program in Basilan, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabungsuan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Zamboanga Peninsula.

In a statement, Theresa Cruz-Capellan, AMORE’s chief of party, echoed the concern of the BRECDA members.

“They are concerned of possible outcome of the tension in Basilan. They are afraid that what had happened in previous hostilities in Mindanao where efforts to light up their homes, mosques, schools and barangays were affected, may happen again,” she said.

Also, they fear that the fighting would affect the schooling of their children.

“They want both parties to avoid future conflicts, not just by caring for the youngest victims of war, but also educating them for peace,” said Capellan.

The residents had also called on all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and patience.

AMORE, launched in 2002, is a cooperative partnership of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mirant Philippines Foundation, Department of Energy, ARMM regional government, and Winrock International.

To date, it has energized 413 conflict-affected villages, mostly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, using solar and micro-hydro power systems. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)