CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the provincial government are mapping out an anti-poverty strategy that would remove Lanao del Sur from the list of poorest provinces in the country within two years.
Philippine Statistics Authority Data In 2015 showed Lanao del Sur has the highest poverty incidence in the country at 74.3 percent.
During a special ARMM cabinet meeting and executive consultation with top officials of the regional and provincial governments, Lanao del Sur line agency heads presented the status of their ongoing projects and accomplishments for fiscal year 2016.
ARMM Vice Governor Haroun Alrashid Lucman Jr., who presided over the meeting, discussed areas where they could improve and focus better in the coming months. 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 meeting.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman encouraged Lanao del Sur’s Department of Agriculture to work on expanding agriculture and making the province rice self-sufficient by 2019.
Hataman also urged officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to expedite the bidding process for a partner firm that would speed up the cash payout process of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
The two districts of Lanao del Sur, with combined 92,191 PPP program beneficiaries, have not received the amounts due them since last year.
Provincial social welfare officers of Lanao del Sur’s two districts said this was owing to the absence of a partner conduit to serve the beneficiaries.
DSWD-ARMM Assistant Secretary Pombaen Karon Kader said no bidder participated in last year’s call, which was why the agency’s central office has not downloaded the program’s funds for the province.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health-ARMM, through the Integrated Provincial Health Office, reported improvements in health statistics for Lanao del Sur citing the period 2009 to 2016.
The maternal mortality rate in the region dropped from 81 in 2009 to only five in 2016; infant mortality rate went down from four to 1.46; malnutrition among children dropped from 15.20 percent to 5.65 percent; tuberculosis cure rate increased to 83 percent; and immunization for children was up to 86.84 percent, the highest in the region.
Regional Health Secretary Kadil Sinolinding said these improvements in the health sector are due to improved facilities and increased deployment of health professionals in all the region’s provinces.
The Humanitarian Development Action Plan was also discussed during the consultation as a special program to 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”—referring to school buildings, houses, and health centers—and “vertical” infrastructures (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.