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PIA Press Release

Foreign-funded projects to reach more villages thru ASFP

Isabela City, Basilan (23 February) -- In a press release, the Bureau of Public Information announced that the World Bank has recently approved a US$30 million additional financing support through the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP). The move aimed for ASFP to cover more barangays within the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao - that have not yet benefited from the agency's projects and services.

As of December last year, only 862 of the 2,486 barangays in ARMM have been covered by the Social Fund projects since year 2003.

The provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan ? are the component areas of the ARMM in the southern Philippines.

The ASFP operations' lifespan was supposed to end in June last year, but stakeholders in the autonomous region have persuaded the national government and participating foreign institutions to extend the operations that led to the approval of the fresh loan, the BPI press statement said.

The ASFP was created by the national government in 2006 to implement in ARMM areas development projects funded through soft loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

ASFP has three major components, namely: Strategic Regional Infrastructure (SRI); capacity-building of recipients on livelihood and food sufficiency programs; and the Institutional Strengthening and Governance (ISG) - that supports the mechanisms to project management and enhanced governance.

BPI quoted ASPF Project Manager Engr. Nasser Sinarimbo to have said that "The extended program operations entails substantial fund that every Filipinos will have to pay for it but is earmarked only for ARMM. It is a special privilege we must enjoy with utmost care to show we are worthy of trust."

Anent to these developments, the ASFP conducted a 5-day orientation and conference with the local government units of Lanao del Sur. This was held in Cotabato City and culminated last Sunday.

The orientation had clarified the roles and functions of the Municipal Multi Stakeholders Committee (MMSC), Municipal Team (MT) and Local Chief Executives (LCEs), and the responsibilities of the LGUs on procurement, fiscal management, and project implementation.

Towards the end of the conference, ASFP officials entered into agreements with Lanao Sur LGUs as program implementing partners of various community-based infrastructure projects to be funded by foreign donor-institutions thru the ASFP.

The BPI press release however did not mention if ASFP has scheduled a similar orientation-conference with other LGUs in the ARMM provinces.

In a message relayed by Cabinet Secretary Pangilaman Mamowalas, acting ARMM Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong pointed out to conference participants that his transitional regime will support and pursue development undertakings that would help mitigate hunger and reduce poverty incidence, boost economic condition and improve education and health services in the entire region. (BPI/PIA9-BST) [top]

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