COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has earmarked P667 million for infrastructure to be constructed within the municipality of Mamasapano.
James Mlok, district engineer of the ARMM Second Maguindanao District Engineering Office, said his office has implemented various infrastructure projects that include a footbridge, access roads, school buildings and water sanitation projects.
ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said these projects will surely deliver development and peace in the area. He added that the region’s infrastructure program will help boost ARMM’s economic development, agricultural growth, and programs aimed at poverty alleviation.
Del Dagadas, a 42-year old farmer from Barangay Tukanalipao in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, has been optimistic these days. His current sentiment, shared by local farmers and residents, is a reversal of what he felt a year ago especially after the tragedy that claimed over 60 lives in the early morning of January 25, 2015.
Dagadas cited the 120-meter Tukanalipao footbridge, known as “Bridge of Peace,” and the 880-meter Tukanalipao Road, where the Mamasapano incident happened, that are now accessible to local residents.
“Before this bridge was constructed, we used to move our agricultural products through a weak footbridge, or by walking through the river. Sometimes, we transport them through the motor boat,” Dagadas said.
“Now, our farms are easily accessible and we are able to transport our products smoothly unlike before. The construction of this bridge benefits us farmers,” he added.
Secretary Don Mustapha Loong of the ARMM-Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-ARMM) said aside from the bridge and access road, the agency also constructed eight school buildings, namely: Hadji Salik Kalaing Elementary School; Hadji Kalaing National High School; Tatak Public School; Libutan Elementary School; Datu Tahir Central Elementary School; Datu Tahir Ampatuan National High School; Mamasapano National High School; and Maulana National High School.
The DPWH-ARMM also put up eight water and sanitation facilities in the following schools Datu Tahir Ampatuan National High School, Maulana National High School, Tuka Elementary School, Datu Tahir Central Elementary School, Hadji Salik Kalaing Elementary School, Linantangan Elementary School, Lusay Elementary School and Pidsandawan Elementary School.
The funds used in constructing the school buildings and in completing the water sanitation projects came from the ARMM-Department of Education, according to Loong.
“We are very glad that we now have a better school building,” said Montasser Tago, Grade 10 student of Hadji Salik Kalaing National High School.
“We don’t need to stay in an old warehouse-turned classroom that is humid and small, that’s why we are very thankful to the ARMM government,” he added.
“We will also construct different infrastructure projects in Barangay Tukanalipao, under the ARMM’s Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy [HELPS] program,” Mlok said.
ARMM HELPS is the region’s banner program that aims to facilitate a convergence of government services closer to the people through the delivery of integrated and enhanced interventions in identified communities.