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ARMM to allocate P1 billion for infrastructure projects this year

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 [ ]

COTABATO CITY: The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) through its executive department has allocated P1 billion for its infrastructure projects in all of the five provinces within the autonomous region for the fiscal year of 2009, an ARMM official said on Monday.

Hadji Adel Dumagay, the ARMM’s planning director, said the projects are categorized as “regional, provincial and district impact projects,” which were identified and approved in line with the infrastructure needs of the ARMM and the region’s provincial and regional investment plans.

Dumagay said this P1 billion allocation which is intended for ARMM’s constituent-local government units (LGUs) corresponds to the subsidy under a continuing devolution scheme meant to maximize the participation of grassroots communities in the management of peace and development packages of ARMM.

He said the grants for approved projects of the LGUs in the Muslim autonomous region would be released through memorandum of agreements (MOA) between the office of ARMM Gov. Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan and his provincial governors and mayors.

The different projects intended for all of the ARMM’s more than 100 municipalities scattered in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and in Marawi City, are to be funded out of the region’s forthcoming 2009 P1- billion infrastructure subsidy, which Dumagay said would most likely be released from the Department of Budget and Management by next month.

Regional Gov. Ampatuan, earlier said he has tentatively scheduled on June the signing of the MOA with local executives on the implementation of the projects for 2009.

Dumagay, who has been at the helm of the Regional Planning and Development Office since the creation of the ARMM more than a decade ago, said it was only during the time of the 41-year-old Ampatuan that provincial governors and mayors, as well as their respective constituent-leaders, were allowed “hands-on participation” in managing costly government projects.

Some of the municipal mayors in the ARMM who were commanders of the Moro National Liberation Front, and who have revolted against the government in the 1970s, said previous devolution of infrastructure projects by Ampatuan to the local governments has so far catalyzed public awareness on how the national government has been helping promote peace and sustainable development in far-flung communities like Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, which is the southernmost island municipality of the autonomous region.

“Our people can no longer complain now of neglect by the government because the LGUs in the autonomous region now have direct participation in the implementation of much-needed infrastructure projects for their communities,” said Dr. Lampa Pandi, a medical doctor and at the same time the municipal mayor of Poona-Bayabao in Lanao del Sur.

Likewise, Tawi-Tawi Vice Gov. Ruby Sahali-Tan, who has various projects in all the island municipalities of Tawi-Tawi, said she has many documented reports on how communities now protect the infrastructure projects built for them by their respective local governments as a result of their involvement in constructing these government projects.-- Julmunir I Jannaral


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