Connect with us

National News

Convergence Initiatives for Marawi Target Food Security



Image Source:

In line with the government’s continuing effort to rehabilitate Marawi, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) is closely working with government line agencies and international non-government organizations to provide livelihood assistance for the returning communities of the war-torn city.

Recently, the Memorandum of Understanding among partner agencies was signed for convergence initiatives. This includes the creation of Convergence Project Monitoring Team (CPMT), comprised of government line agencies and international non-government organizations. The convergence initiatives primarily target to ensure food security to the city.

TFBM member agencies, together with international non-government organizations, the United Nations-World Food Programme (UN-WFP) and the United Nations-Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO), have strengthened and institutionalized convergence initiatives for the reconstruction, recovery and rehabilitation of the five pilot barangays of Malimono-Dulay Agrarian Community (ARC) in Marawi City to provide assistance through agricultural programs, social services, security, business and livelihood of the conflict-affected communities.

The convergence initiatives aim to address the food security on these areas with the strong collaboration of the TFBM member agencies and its INGO partners, as they continue to offer and provide interventions needed in the successful implementation of the program.

On Food Security for Marawi

The program aims to provide an immediate help and assistance to the maximum recovery of the war-torn city. These barangays include Guimba, Dulay Proper, Dulay west, Malimono, and Cabasaran.

To describe the living situation of the Marawi locals before predicament occurs to the city, there was a beautiful countryside picture of barangays tumble under agricultural land that provides sustainable livelihood to the people where they can generate income in a regular basis.

Brgy. Guimba is one of the communities that supply agricultural products to the city such as vegetables, fruits, and root crops.

Baicon Macaraya, national program officer of United Nations-World Food Program explained that the idea of this convergence platform is to address food security issues in Marawi.

The Marawi siege affected the availability of food for the community and even disrupted the market operation of the people.

“So at least with convergence, we will be able to allow the farmers to contribute by producing food that will be readily available for the returned families in Marawi City,” Macaraya said in an interview.

Also, the convergence was able to tap not only the agrarian reform communities that have been identified by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Agriculture (DA), but correspondingly, farming activities through this convergence invite all other interested communities nearby the war-torn city. The program converged different line agencies in partnership with the INGOs that are providing expertise and assistance which contribute to attaining full recovery of Marawi city.

“For the people of Marawi and all the stakeholders, ‘sama-sama po tayong babangon,’ the humanitarian organizations like the World Food Program are actually with you and has been with you and trying our best to ensure that food security be restored back and even better as we returned to the communities that have been affected conflict,” Macaraya said.

Macaraya expressed the gratitude of UN-WFP as well as the UN-FAO, she added that both organizations are delighted to facilitate the convergence initiative in the five-pilot barangays, “We are starting to the agricultural sector and then we move also in the ‘fisheries’ sector. And we hope to do the same approach in other areas that have been affected by the conflict.”

The five pilot barangays were initially identified considering that it is part of the agrarian community of DAR. The adjacent location of these barangays makes it strategic not only because of the needs of the community but also because of the schedule of the returning beneficiaries.

“We hope to do beyond these areas, actually ground zero can also adopt the same urban planting and farming can also be done in ground zero, even the concept alone of doing this together can readily be adopted by other areas in the returned communities in Marawi City, babangon ang Marawi,” Macaraya’s statement of hope that Marawi will be built again.

Government Interventions

The convergence initiative on food security is the first livelihood effort that has been done for the returning communities and it is expected to be replicated with other agricultural barangays in Marawi City.

A farmer-beneficiary works for his land preparation. Photo by John Paul Soriano
DAR-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAR-ARMM) Agrarian Reform Officer Rocaina Mindalano ensured immediate assistance to farm-workers who are economically displaced after the siege erupted.

Since the six-month siege has erupted, the subcommittee on livelihood already delivers assistance through an immediate, medium-term and long-term responses for the IDPs affected by the conflict.

She said that the subcommittee on livelihood program is instigating Malimono-Dulay Agrarian rehabilitation plan which aims to create a resilient agrarian community out of empowered agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and other farmworkers.

“Para sa ating mga beneficiaries, just hold on, we could move forward inshaallah, nandirito po kaming lahat, sama-sama para tulungan po kayo na makabangon muli because we want to rebuild your lives, we want to make you empowered despite Marawi siege, there is still life ahead,” Mindalano encourages community.

Meanwhile, the ARMM’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries conducted series of distribution of assorted vegetable seeds for the returning communities in five-pilot barangays. The agency continues to assist the farmworkers by providing the farmers’ needs and offering them agricultural and livelihood lectures.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Agricultural Officer Abdul M. Hadji Ali urges returned individual of agriculture community to continue farming.

“Wag silang ma-discourage, isulong nila yung pagbabago, magtulung-tulong sila, magkaisa sila tungo sa pagbabago ng Marawi na ito,” Hadji Ali’s message to the conflict-afflicted residents of Marawi.

For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development provides cash-for-work (CWF) program in support of farming activities of the beneficiaries.

CFW of DSWD is a way to leverage other resources that are available, not only in the government but also in other stakeholders as well. CFW is the agency’s early recovery and rehabilitation intervention for the returning populace of the war-torn city.

DSWD offers temporary employment for the residents of Marawi, wherein a certain beneficiary works in exchange for P200-worth of cash that apiece a daily community service.

A farmer-beneficiary labor for land preparation recompensed CWF amounting to P1,000 feting a five-day land preparation and receives another amount of P1,000 during the actual planting.

Farmer-beneficiaries on the go

As the government continues the rehabilitation, recovery and restoration process for Marawi, returning individuals also revived their lost livelihoods while bringing back themselves to normalcy.

One of the farmer-beneficiaries is Mauna Macadato of Brgy. Guimba. Her family returned to their home during the third leg of Kambalingan on 09 December 2017. She shared that the moment they step near on their home was jam-packed of emotions. They were so exultant for the homecoming, but their happiness was lingered and ended up being heartbroken at the same time because of what hails them in their home seeing that it was shattered by the fatal combat.

As tears were welling up, she shared her livelihood before the siege happened.

“Masaya ako kasi parang unti-unti nang bumabalik ang dati, mas kompartable na kami dito kaysa nung dati na nasa evacuation kami at lahat ng hirap dinanas namin. Iba talaga pag nasa sarili mong bahay ka namamalagi,” she shared.

After more than a month of return in their home, the residents of Brgy. Guimba were able to start over onto farming activities and expect to produce vegetable and fruit basket for the city.

Mauna Macadato expressed his gladness that he and his family are home again after six-months of staying in evacuation center. “Masaya kaming nakabalik na kami sa pagtatanim sa at nakabalik na kami sa sariling lugar namin,” he said.

This livelihood convergence program will uplift the lives of farmer-beneficiaries and will provide immediate help and assistance for the maximum recovery of the city.

Continue Reading

National News

Duterte Highlights Responsible Use of Digital Platforms




Image Source:

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday highlighted the responsible use of the digital platform in communicating truth as he urged communications and information officers to write and tell stories of the people.

This was the gist of the President’s speech read by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar during the second day of the National Information Convention at SMX Convention Center in Davao City.

Though recognizing the different modes of communicating and advocating government programs and policies based on speed and sophistication, Duterte raised questions about the outcomes of using digital media.

“What do we get out of the contents on the Internet? Are they fact-based on good reasoning? Do they have the capacity to affect our thinking correctly? Is there some relevance to the way we can, individually and collectively, improve our lives, restore a sense of compassion and concern, do justice where it is rightfully due, and, most importantly, safeguard the future?” the President’s message read.

Duterte said the questions can be answered during the convention.

The President also underscored the importance of sharing the truth through various platforms.

He also highlighted the power of words of change as a radical transformation in eradicating destructive elements such as his war on drugs, criminality, corruption, and terrorism.

“The battle zones surround all of us; and, as the communication and information officers of the government, you are bound to fight these wars as a matter of duty and for the honor of being the public servants of our people,” he said.

He stressed that words are most effective instruments one can use in confronting a fractured world.

“There are truths and certainties we must speak of in order to elicit respect for the law, the honor for authority, a sense of discipline, decency and pride in being a Filipino who is capable of defending our community when it is under siege,” he added.

“As information officers, therefore, your words should approximate these truths,” he said.

He further urged communications and information officers to leave ugly stories of those who scatter hatred, anger, divisiveness, with the cruelty of their lies and the wounds they cause with their poisoned pens.

“We must gather the goodness that is inherent in our hearts, and turn this into the advancement of understanding, harmony, unity and peace,” he said.

He said the essence of communication is truth-telling in their reports.

“The bonds that unite us together, are the stories we must tell our people; and, in the re-telling of our stories, in the re-creation of our communication, our world is re-created,” Duterte stressed.

Duterte expressed hope that NIC would strengthen government communications and information officers to be the perfect professionals.

Continue Reading

National News

PDEA Aims to Free Up to 8k Barangays Yearly from Illegal Drugs




Image source:

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino targets to free 7,000-8,000 barangays per year from illegal drugs, as President Rodrigo Duterte has four years left to fulfill his campaign promise.

“We have a timeline of four years more before the President steps down and we need to clear 7,000-8,000 barangays per year,” Aquino said during a forum on the administration’s “Rehabinasyon” program on the first day of the three-day National Information Convention (NIC) in Davao City on Monday.

Combining the Filipino words for rehabilitation and nation, “Rehabinasyon” aims to take a holistic approach to eliminating the country’s drug problem by putting a premium on the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers, saving the youth from the evils of drugs, and envisioning a drug-free nation with a better future.

The PDEA chief said more than 24,000 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs. As of Feb. 8, 2018, the Duterte administration has cleared 5,327 barangays of prohibited substances.

Aquino also reported the agency has conducted 85,068 anti-drug operations and arrested 121,087 drug personalities in anti-drug operations.

He pointed out PDEA has seized P19.61-billion worth of evidence from 9 drug laboratories and 179 drug dens.

Aquino added the agency has arrested 454 government workers, including elected officials, and rescued 618 minors.

The PDEA chief also said the agency targets to establish offices in the Philippines’ 13 key ports to stop the entry of illegal drugs in the country, noting that more than 80 percent of illegal drugs in the country comes from overseas.

The PDEA chairs the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) created by President Duterte in March 2017.

ICAD launched the Rehabinasyon program, which features three components: RealNumbers, RealSolutions, and RealStories.

Under these components, initiatives like information dissemination, treatment of drug dependents, livelihood programs, job security, and alternative modes of development will be reintroduced and implemented across the country.

President Rodrigo Duterte won the 2016 elections under the campaign promise to rid the country of illegal drugs and curb corruption in government.

Continue Reading

National News

DPWH Resumes Road Repair Works on 7 Roads in Metro Manila




Image source:

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will continue its road reblocking and repairs in the cities of Quezon and Caloocan this weekend.

According to DPWH National Capital Region Director Melvin B. Navarro, the repair and rehabilitation in six (6) major roads in Quezon City and one (1) in Caloocan City covering an area of 2,136.35 square meters will start 11 PM Friday, 16 February 2018.

In Quezon City, reblocking and repair works will be done at the northbound direction of the following roads: Visayas Avenue in front of the Department of Agriculture (DA) outerlane; EDSA between Landers Street to Howmart, 5th lane; Congressional Avenue Extension corner Tandang Sora Avenue, 1st lane; Congressional Avenue from EDSA to Cagayan Street, 3rdlane; Quirino Highway from T. Urbano to Pagkabuhay Road, inner lane; and A. Bonifacio Avenue from Calavite Street to Mariveles Street, middle lane. Also included is the southbound direction of A. Bonifaco Avenue, crossing Sgt. Rivera, middle lane.

Repair works will also be undertaken at the northbound direction of Bonifacio Monumento Circle in Caloocan City.

Motorists are advised to use possible alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion in the affected areas.

Using one (1) day concrete mix, affected roads will fully open 5 AM Monday, 19 February  2018. (DPWH)

Continue Reading

National News

Improved Infra, Eased Regulations to Boost Trade, Investments in ASEAN




Image source:

Member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) need to improve physical infrastructures and streamline regulatory processes in an effort to facilitate trade and investments in the region, according to a report from state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

In a report titled “ASEAN connectivity: The hows and whys,” PIDS information officer Neille Gwen de la Cruz noted that connectivity is important to the region’s continued economic growth and an integral factor to realize the vision of an ASEAN Community by 2025.

ASEAN leaders have adopted the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, which has the goal of achieving a “seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated ASEAN that will promote competitiveness, inclusiveness, and a greater sense of Community” by the year 2025.

“Right now, ASEAN is recognized as one of the world’s largest economic zones. Making it easier to transport goods and services, reducing cumbersome processes, or simply opening more ways for people to move around the region would help facilitate the growth of ASEAN SMEs (small and medium enterprises),” said De la Cruz.

Citing an ASEAN Secretariat data, she said SMEs comprise 90 percent of companies in the region and contribute to as much as 60 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, making them the driving force of economic growth in the ASEAN.

“One of the main advantages of having an integrated region is having a seamless trade. Once the means to move from one country to another has been provided, there would be a freer flow of goods, services, and workers within and across the region, bolstering the perception that the region is an attractive market,” she added.

The PIDS report noted that an interconnected ASEAN is also envisioned to promote knowledge sharing and cultural exchange through improved physical infrastructure, streamlined regulatory processes and harmonized procedures and standards.

These are expected to create significant positive impacts on the region’s SMEs, as well as tourism and human resources, among others, it said.

“Promoting ASEAN connectivity will also boost tourism by capitalizing on the diverse history and culture of the region. Easing visa requirements across ASEAN would encourage greater mobility of people,” De la Cruz added.

Continue Reading