403 brgys benefit from anti-poverty program

COTABATO CITY (January 9) – The Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy  (HELPS) program of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has served 403 barangays since its creation in 2013.

Among the services delivered were barangay health stations, provision of medicines and birthing supplies and equipment for its health component. Development of madaris curriculum, as a tool to combat violent extremism, as well as the construction of community learning centers for education, and study tour for teachers were also pursued.

ARMM-HELPS – the banner program of the region under the administration of Gov. Mujiv Hataman – also constructed flea markets and water systems, and supported livelihood cooperative development based on needs assessment for its livelihood objective.

To strengthen the regional government’s support to efficient governance, new barangay halls with police action centers were built, disaster preparedness and management training were promoted, rescue equipment and other supplies were distributed, and development of Barangay Development Plans, and youth development support programs were given assistance.

“Everyone in the community should be involved in the whole process of making the projects – they are the ones who identify the projects,” said Anwar Upahm, ARMM-HELPS program manager. “We want to prevent white elephant projects.”

“That is the reason why we do not implement projects that were not consulted. By helping facilitate their Barangay Development Plans, we ensure that concerns are discussed including economic, health, and educational needs,” the ARMM-HELPS official added.

The previous year’s efforts focused on 150 barangays with program resources equally distributed among the region’s five provinces.

Upahm said the Marawi siege had a major impact on areas covered by the program. For instance, infrastructures built under ARMM-HELPS in Lumbaca Madaya in Marawi City were destroyed during the five-month war.

Thus, the program has earmarked over P300 million for barangay beneficiaries in Lanao del Sur, which suffered from the Marawi crisis. For this year, the office aims to reach another batch of 150 barangays in all the provinces namely Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

“Other than the fulfillment of being able to deliver by implementing all the projects, the best achievement (ARMM-HELPS) holds is that we were able to transform the system of ARMM’s project development from being top-down, to bottom-up,” Upahm said.

“We give importance to the participation of our different stakeholders in our communities. We are proud to say that in our outputs, the members of the communities are heard – from the planning process up to the implementation,” he added. (Bureau of Public Information)