$1.5M set for Sarangani, Maguindanao projects-A A +A
Sunday, September 15, 2013
GENERAL Santos City -- A total of $1.5 million was earmarked for community development projects in the provinces of Sarangani and Maguindanao by a non-government organization.
The peace and development advocates from the local government and non-governmental organization led by Plan International Inc. launched on Wednesday an initiative seeking greater protection and allowing local means to ensure the children's future.
Plan International is a humanitarian and child-centered organization which implements development projects in the Philippines. It has implemented various programs in Luzon and Visayas since 1960s.
Dubbed as "Resilience and Changes for Children and Families (Reach) in Mindanao," the project will be implemented in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and local governments of Sarangani and Mindanao.
Rodel Bontuyan, Plan area manager for Luzon and Mindanao, said the initiative which is funded by Sweden and Germany will have four components -- education; water, food, sanitation and hygiene; child protection; and disaster and risk reduction.
"For education, we will focus on alternative delivery mode of education for children who are always not in school. We have prepared some mechanism to address concerns on the matter," Bontuyan said.
"For the water, food, sanitations and hygiene, we will work on the access to safer water and sanitation facilities. As to the child protection, we would have psychosocial training, reporting and referral mechanisms, and other protection mechanism," he added.
Bontuyan said there will be capacity building programs or infrastructures for local government units as to disaster risk reduction. He said they have yet to check some areas in two provinces.
Carin Van Der Hor, Plan country director, on the other hand, thanked the local governments of Sarangani and Maguindanao for letting such projects happen first in Mindanao. She also expressed excitement over working with the locals.
Van Der Hor said as the National Government and other groups are still working with the peace process, the Plan has identified the needs for humanitarian and development assistance particularly children in Mindanao.
"We have been actually worried of the armed conflict, election related violence, natural disasters, and poverty. These are only some of the issues that we'll be working together. We think that the time is right and ready for us to reach out Mindanao," she said.
"We don't know Mindanao that well, which is why we have all more the reasons to work here with our partners. We might be launching this project with you but this is only the start of the journey and we need to travel this far together," Van Der Hor added.
Van Der Hor said 15 poorest provinces were listed in a National Statistics Coordination Board in 2009, nine of those are from Mindanao, seven of which are conflict areas. She added that their first target areas for Reach are Maguindanao and Sarangani.
The project will cover 24 villages in the municipalities of Alabel, Malapatan, Maitum, Kiamba, Maasim, Malungon and Glan in Sarangani, and the towns of General Salipada K. Pendatun,; Rajah Buayan, Datu Hofer, Pagalungan and Ampatuan in Maguindanao.
Van Der Hor, in behalf of the Plan members, vowed to commit their service in Mindanao.
"We are committed not only to work in Mindanao but [also] in the entire Philippines. Not only in our program areas but every area in this country where there is a need to uplift the lives of Filipinos especially children," Van Der Hor said.
Sarangani Governor Steve C. Solon and Maguindanao Governor Esmael G. Mangudadatu extended their warm gratitude to Plan International and Sweden and Germany for the project.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 15, 2013.