AUTONOMOUS Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) Governor Mujiv Hataman spearheaded the celebration of the Peoples’ Day in the former lair of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the town of Al-Barka, Basilan province.
The Peoples’ Day held on Monday, March 27, brings the different line agencies of the Armm in convergence to offer free basic social services to the region’s constituents for free, and to reach the people at the grassroots level.
“We want to ensure that residents in Al-Barka have access to all the vital services and assistance from the government,” Hataman said.
The activity was supported by Basilan Governor Hadjiman Hataman-Salliman, Al-Barka Mayor Darussalam Lajid, and heads of regional line agencies.
The town of Al-Barka may have earned an unfavorable reputation, but the Armm government is leading the way to make it become a more welcoming and better place.
Hataman said the aim is to free the town from banditry and poverty by guaranteeing the delivery of government projects in the town.
Hataman said for 40 years, the town served as the bastion of the terror group Abu Sayyaf bandits, thus hampering the government in bringing in support to the town.
“The people here deserve quality government service and we are bringing it in,” he said.
Major General Carlito Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), said a substantial number of soldiers have sacrificed to liberate the village from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Galvez said 256 soldiers have been killed while around 572 were wounded from 2010 to 2012 alone based on their research.
Galvez said he is happy the entire town of Al-Barka is free from hands of the Abu Sayyaf.
Hataman said it was agreed that an additional military battalion will be deployed to ensure the safety of the residents and prevent the return of the bandit group.
Thousands of residents of Macalang village and from nearby areas benefited from various forms of assistance rendered them during the activity.
These included the medical and dental consultation and medication, supplemental feeding, distribution of textbooks and children's books, distribution of agricultural inputs and seedlings, domestic and international jobs fair, social pension payout and distribution of devices to persons with disabilities, among others.
Salliman said the Provincial Government also distributed relief goods to the residents.
Hataman added that the people should lead in winning the peace in their place, with the assistance from the local government unit and the Armm government as well.
Hataman also lead the signing of a memorandum of agreement and groundbreaking ceremony of the P10-million project under the Armm-Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (Helps) that would directly benefit Macalang village.
He said the Regional Government has allocated P877 million worth of projects in Al-Barka since 2012. The bulk of the funds was used to finance the 45 kilometers road construction.
Barangay government center and other high-impact projects would be among the projects under the Armm-Helps in the village.
The People’s Day is a monthly activity that serves as an opportunity for regional line agencies and offices to offer and render their front-line services to the residents of Armm.