MILF’s econ arm has helped 4,853 individuals

THE Program for Local Economic Development through Enlightened Governance and Grassroots Empowerment (Pledge) of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development arm of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has assisted a total of 4,853 individuals from 11 conflict-inflicted areas in Mindanao as of October 2016.

Julhaina Cadon, program coordinator, in her speech Monday during the opening of the Pledge Fair and Interagency Meeting that will run until today, October 18, at the SM City Annex –Davao, the enterprise program was formed during the peace process. It was implemented since December 2013.

“It is a program that builds communities’ skills in enterprise development to increase and provide employment by providing business tools, equipment and facilities, facilitating production and enterprise skills training and connecting communities with public and private markets,” she said.

The two-day fair has the theme: “Promoting Unity through Inclusive Growth initiative.”

The near 5,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries of the program are from the 42 Pledge business groups registered and in full operation, which has provided over 1,000 livelihood and employment to people.

The businesses are located in six provinces in the island-region. These are in Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Davao Oriental, South Cotabato, Maguindanao and Basilan.

The 42 Pledge enterprises, Cadon said, are engaged in fish processing, dress making, home décor production, embroidery making, halal bakery, seaweed production, banana processing, furniture craft making, rice and corn support facilities and production, coconut processing and indigenous products production, among others.

“We have trained 1,178 individuals in enterprise development, 51 percent of which are women,” she added.

Jamel Macaray, member of the board of directors of BDA, for his part, said all stakeholders shall share one vision and encourage all the entrepreneurs to work together.

He said the program is centered on the objectives of improving livelihood and better access to services, building capacities of Bangsamoro people and building social unity among communities.

Satar Abdulrahim, Pledge People’s Organization president, shared his story of hope and resiliency with the program.

“After I lost my child in a mosque bombing in Maguindanao, we closed out a sari-sari store and moved to Piagapo (Lanao del Sur) where it is much safer. To be part of Pledge spring water bottling enterprise is a chance for me to do business again and help my community and family earn,” he said.

In a press briefer, Pledge budget is at P113 million. It is funded by Mindanao Trust Fund with donors coming from European Union, Australian Aid, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Canadian International Development Agency, The World Bank IBRD-IDA, USAid, and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aid Programme.

Pledge is also implemented in partnership with International Labor Organization.
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