My brother is an engineer in North Cotabato and is working on a multibillion-peso irrigation project. He said that the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters commonly known as BIFF are extorting money from the National Irrigation Administration which is in charge of the Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project.
The project is important because once completed, it will irrigate 20,000 hectares of farmlands in many towns in North Cotabato and Maguindanao. As it is, the BIFF group does not want this to happen and to prove they can sabotage the project, to the detriment of the people who will gain once the project becomes operational.
In truth, the BIFF, the NPA and other groups who extort, also want the project completed, only they want money and they regularly ask huge amounts from the contractors and private companies who undertake such projects and other development activities.
This is one reason some projects tend to be sub-standard in nature for the money is not enough. The only time such projects come out of good quality and meet high standards, is when the projects are near military camps/installations. The extortionists fail to demand money from victims because of soldiers’ visibility and more of their vigilance and alertness to stop illegal activities such as extortion.
Ms. Ma. Catherine B. Buhain