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Duterte to help ARMM strengthen its anti-poverty drive

Cotabato City (October 25, 2016) – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will visit the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) seat here on Saturday, October 29, as the region’s top official sees stronger anti-poverty programs under the current administration.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said President Duterte has previously expressed his desire to help the region’s drive against poverty and hunger. Based on latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, ARMM is the poorest region in the country with poverty incidence of 53.4%.

Lanao del Sur and Sulu, two of the five provinces that comprise ARMM, are considered the poorest and second poorest provinces with 70.2% and 61.8% poverty incidence, respectively.

High on the list of ARMM regional government’s concerns – aside from peace and order – are food security and poverty. These issues are the focus of President Duterte’s first executive order that puts to task 12 government agencies.

Executive Order No. 1 – Reengineering the Office of the President Towards Greater Responsiveness to the Attainment of Development Goals, was signed by the President on June 30.

The 12 agencies on the forefront of the fight against poverty are:

Cooperative Development Authority;
Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council;
National Anti-Poverty Commission;
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples;
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos;
National Food Authority;
National Youth Commission;
Office of the President-Presidential Action Center;
Philippine Commission on Women;
Philippine Coconut Authority;
Presidential Commission on the Urban Poor; and,
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

These agencies will evaluate existing poverty reduction programs and, if deemed necessary, formulate a more responsive set of programs complementing existing ones, and channeling resources as necessary to reduce both the incidence and magnitude of poverty.

Representatives of most if not all the agencies listed above are expected to be part of the presidential party and would assess the region’s situation with the objective of determining if new programs and projects are necessary, or existing ones should be strengthened, based on local needs and availability of resources.

It should be noted that ARMM is currently undertaking several programs to combat poverty and these include the ‘Apat na Dapat’ initiative at the household level, and the ARMM-Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Security, and Synergy, or HELPS, at the barangay level.

“These two programs are specifically designed to address the roots of poverty,” Gov. Hataman noted. Apat na Dapat, which focuses on 600 of the region’s poorest families, was launched in January 2016.

“We hope that the national government would help us bridge the gaps in the programs we are currently implementing,” Átty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, said.

The regional government, she noted, has earmarked P240 million for the implementation of the program in 2015-2016. There will be 15 pilot municipalities – three in every province of the ARMM – with 40 of the poorest families as beneficiaries in each municipality.

The program will follow the “four-for-the-poor formula,” which zeroes in on the four basic needs, namely food, water, light, and shelter. “Any household that lacks even just one of these four is at great risk of being poor,” Gov. Hataman noted.

The program is under the ARMM’s Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development Program for Sustainable Growth and Equity, which helps strengthen local governance and empower communities in the region.

ARMM-HELPS, on the other hand, is a banner program of the Office of the Regional Governor that aims at establishing a peaceful and secure environment in the region by providing basic social services especially in relation to health, education, livelihood, good governance and peace in barangays.

ARMM-HELPS was launched in February 2013 and is designed as a convergence initiative of the regional government. The program’s different components are being implemented by the line agencies. (Bureau of Public Information)
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