P12-million convergence building for Moros, Lumads to rise in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 May) – The national government has approved a grant of around P12 million for the construction of a new office and convergence building for Muslims and tribal residents here.

Fulong Dan Alim, founding president of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance Movement, said Thursday the preparations are underway for the implementation of the project, which will be funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

He said the two-story building will host the offices of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Kasfala hall of the city’s indigenous peoples (IP) sector.

Alim said they identified the lot presently occupied by the NCMF office within the city government center as site of the new building.

He said his office is currently coordinating with the office of City Mayor Ronnel Rivera for the finalization of the site.

The city government is working on the release of an additional P5-million grant for the project, Alim said.

“The construction of the new building will start after the election ban. The old NCMF building will be demolished to give way to the new structure,” he said in a statement.

Once completed, Alim said half of the building will be occupied by the Lumads and the other half by the NCMF.

He said the Kasfala hall will have a business center, office space and pantry at the ground floor and a conference and function room at the second floor.

Kasfala is a Blaan term for a traditional meeting of elders for gift exchanges and settlement or resolution of disputes.

Alim said the Kasfala hall will be a venue for the city tribal council and elders to formulate and implement policies, programs, projects, and activities for the advancement of the IPs in the city.

He credited the project to the “convergence efforts” of local tribal leaders, city government, DPWH, NCMF, Regional Development Council-12 and “other stakeholders who strongly support the welfare and development of the IPs.” (MindaNews)