ARMM, Lanao del Sur to delete province from poorest list

COTABATO CITY, February 23 — After long years of government neglect, the people of Lanao del Sur can now see change is indeed coming after officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the provincial government have started mapping out anti-poverty strategies that will remove the province from the list of country’s poorest, an official said Thursday.

Officials eye a two-year projection to attain the goal, according to ARMM Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Hataman presided over a special cabinet meeting and consultation on Wednesday attended by regional and provincial officials where updates on anti-poverty projects’ status as well as accomplishments for fiscal year 2016 were discussed.

Based on first quarter 2015 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the latest available, showed Lanao del Sur was the poorest province in the Philippines with 74.3 percent poverty incidence.

Presided by the ARMM Regional Vice Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., the consultation also discussed areas where they could improve and focus on in the coming months.

Lucman said this is the first in a series of provincial consultations this year covering the five ARMM provinces.

Lanao del Sur Vice Governor Mamintal Adiong, Anak Mindanao Representative Atty. Makmod Mending Jr., and the province’s local chief executives were also present during the special cabinet meeting.

Hataman urged Department of Agriculture provincial office to work on expanding the province’s agriculture coverage to make the province rice sufficient by 2019.

Hataman also urged officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to expedite the bidding process on partner conduit to speed up the payout process of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Hataman was surprised to learn that the two districts of Lanao del Sur with combined 92,191 program beneficiaries have not received the amounts due them since last year.

He was told that the lack of a partner conduit that will serve the 4Ps beneficiaries caused the delay.

Pombaen Karon Kader, DSWD-ARMM assistant secretary said no bidder participated in last year’s call for a partner conduit so the agency’s central office has not downloaded the program’s funds for the province.

In health programs, the Department of Health-ARMM, through the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO-Lanao Sur), reported notable improvement in health statistics from 2009 to 2016.

These are as follows: Maternal mortality rate dropped from 81 in 2009 to only five in 2016, while infant mortality rate was also down from four to 1.46.

IPHO-Lanao Sur also reported that malnutrition among children dropped from 15.20 percent to 5.65 percent while tuberculosis cure rate increased to 83 percent; and, immunization for children was up to 86.84%, the highest in the region.

Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr, ARMM health secretary, said the significant improvement in the health sector are credited to improved facilities development and increased deployment of health professionals in all the provinces of the region.

The Humanitarian Development Action Plan (HDAP) was also discussed during the consultation as a special program that will cover the province’s conflict-affected town of Butig.

ARMM-HDAP is a program of the regional government under the Hataman administration that implements various government initiatives.

These include relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of both “horizontal” – in reference to school buildings, houses, and health centers – and “vertical” infrastructures – or roads and bridges.

It also covers livelihood projects that will promote peace and order and help improve the economic situation in calamity-affected communities, specifically in 15 Maguindanao towns. (PNA)

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