P24M released for peace & dev’t projects in NorthCot

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 Nov) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 12 has released an initial P24 million for the implementation of peace and development projects in North Cotabato province.

Buagas Sulaik, DILG Region 12 director, said the funds comprise the first tranche of the approved grant for 12 local government units (LGUs) in North Cotabato under the DILG- Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA fund.

“The amount will be used to subsidize programs and projects that are identified by LGUs, which will eventually address the peace and development needs and challenges, particularly of the vulnerable sectors in their respective areas,” he said in a statement.

Sulaik said they released the checks to the recipient local government in a simple ceremony held recently at the provincial capitol of North Cotabato in Amas, Kidapawan City.

He said check distribution was attended by North Cotabato Vice Gov. Gregorio Ipong as well as mayors and other officials of the recipient-municipalities of Libungan, Carmen, Midsayap, Arakan, Pigcawan, Aleosan, Kabacan and Pikit.

Sulaik said the fund releases represents 80 percent of the total P30 million grant allotted for Region 12 under the PAMANA program. “The remaining 20 percent or about P6 million will be ready for release this December,” he said.

The PAMANA program was earlier launched by the national government as a framework for intervention in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas in Mindanao and to complement the ongoing peace efforts.

The official said the DILG was tasked by the national government to implement the program’s Pillar 3, which focuses on “addressing sub-regional challenges, including constraints to regional economic development and economic integration of developing areas with the more progressive areas, and inter-regional connectivity improvements.”

“This includes investing on agri-industrial enterprises, coastal development initiatives, and infrastructure such as road networks, electrification, postharvest facilities and farm-to-market roads,” a program briefer said.

Sulaik said the program, which was set for a five-year period or from 2011-2016, aims to “contribute to lasting peace by reducing poverty and vulnerability in conflict-affected areas, improving governance and empowering communities and strengthen their capacities to promote social cohesion.”

Based on the proposals submitted by the recipient-LGUs, Sulaik said the identified priority projects include livelihood and infrastructure ventures such as palm oil production and seedlings distribution, establishment of commercial building, construction of potable water supply systems and solar driers, and concreting and rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads.

“They believe that these projects will ultimately contribute to sustainable development in their areas as characterized by social cohesion, human development and social justice,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)