ZAMBOANGA CITY: Maguindanao’s South Upi town will start implementing various projects under its priority programs following the release of more than P25 million to the municipal government.

Engineer Renato Sarikit, South Upi’s municipal planning and development coordinator, said P10.9 will go for the construction of potable water system in villages. The fund has been allocated last year but was only released this year.

He said P15 million approved during the “Bottom-up Budgeting” will fund various livelihood and infrastructure programs in South Upi.

“We are now preparing to implement all these projects which are among the prio- rity programs of Mayor Abdulah Campong,” Sarikit told The Manila Times in a telephone interview.

Sarikit said Campong is actively involved in Maguin–danao’s peace and development advocacy and is one of the strong supporters of President Benigno Aquino in the promotion of peace in Mindanao.

Sarikit said Maguindanao is still waiting for the P100 million farm-to-market road project released in 2012 under the government’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) program.

He said the funding was released to the Philippine Army’s Engineer Battalion for the supposed construction of the 13-kilometer road that straddles Lamud and Biarong villages.

“We are just waiting for the engineer battalion, which is tasked to carry out the farm-to-market project that is expected to hasten the transport of farm produce and benefit some 4,000 villagers here in South Upi,” he said.

Sarikit said the high cost of transporting farm produce is affecting the producti- vity of the farmers and the local economy.

Pamana is President Be–nigno Aquino 3rd’s program and framework for peace and development in areas affected by armed conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements. It seeks to reduce poverty, improve governance and empower communities.

The program, which literally means “Peaceful and Resilient Communities,” is expected to benefit the town’s folks. It was originally implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) with an allocation of P1.9 billion.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government component of the program has a funding of P968.9 million, while other allocations were distributed among the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P586.7 million), Department of Agrarian Reform (P17.6 million) and OPAPP (P329.3 million).

The fund for the program will be used for development projects, such as infrastructure and livelihood, in 165 cities and municipalities in 30 conflict-hit provinces.

Maguindanao is one of five provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.