Maluso, Basilan (March 4, 2018)—Abdulham Mohammad, 48, remembers the good old days of the fishing industry of Maluso town in Basilan.
“Noon, pusit lang ang hinuhuli ko, kumikita ako ng P500-P5,000 kadaaraw,” he said, adding that most fishermen would not even reach the market since barter was already being done along the way.
“Hindi na namin kailangan magpunta ng palengke dahil sinasalubong nanila kami noon para makipagbarter,” he recalled.
But big fishing vessels arrived and encroached on their fishing grounds.
“Nagsimula ang problema dito sa amin noong unti-unting pumasok ang mga vessels sa municipal waters kung saan nananagat ang mga small-time fishermen,” he said.
“Dahil malalaki ang gamit nila, talo ang mga maliliit hanggang sa nalulugi sila at unti-unting binebenta ang mga kabuhayan nila,” he added.
Mohammad, however, said the ARMM government stepped in, helping their community by providing fishing supplies, including boats and fishing nets.
“Ngayon, unti-unti nang nanunumbalik ang sigla ng pangingisda dahil suportado ng ARMM ang aming kabuhayan,” he said.
“Ngayong nagtatrabaho na ako sa munisipyo, nakikita ko ang efforts ng ating gobyerno para sa Maluso,” he said.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said “historically, Maluso was a fishing port.”
“Lahat ng isda papuntang Zamboanga at Isabela (in Basilan) ay nagmumula sa Maluso,” he said.
Hataman vowed that his administration will intensify its efforts in protecting the local fisherfolk.
Maluso mayor Hanie Bud said he was also thankful that President Rodrigo Duterte heeded their request that the town’s municipal waters be made exclusive to local fishers.
“Dahil don bumalik sa pangingisda ang mga tao,” the mayor said.
Mohammad was also grateful to the president.
“Mula noong nagbigay ng ultimatum si President, halos nakakabangon na ulit ang small-scale fisherfolk dahil sabi niya paparusahan ang malalaking vessels na papasok sa municipal waters,” Mohammad said.
The ARMM government, through its flagship program Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance, and Synergy (HELPS), on March 4 turned over some P2-Million worth of boat and fishing supplies to the fisherfolk cooperative in Barangay Lower Port Holland in Maluso.
But Mohammad said that aside from efforts to help the fisherfolk, the ARMM governor has also announced his administration’s plan to help rubber farmers by building a processing center.
The former fisherman is also excited about the other projects, which include road-widening, cold storage facilities, and processing plants, in store for Maluso this year. (Bureau of Public Information)
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman led the inauguration and turnover of the projects on Sunday at the sidelines of the ARMM People’s Day in this municipality.
The ARMM People’s Day is a monthly activity that serves as an opportunity for the regional line agencies and offices to offer and render their frontline services to the people of the region. The services included children’s feeding program, medical check-up, circumcision, jobs fair, and others.
The projects that were turned over included PHP5.4 million barangay hall and multi-purpose building in Tubigan and PHP2 million livelihood projects to the fisherfolks cooperative in Barangay Lower Port Holland.
The projects were part of the ARMM’s flagship program–Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance Synergy (ARMM-HELPS).
Aurellano Laping, Tubigan barangay chairperson, Mayor Hanie Bud and other officials joined Hataman in the inauguration of the projects.
Hataman said that the ARMM is now focused on delivering socio-economic and infrastructure projects to the different provinces and towns all over the region.
Laping said they had been staying for years in Barangay Tubigan and they never thought there will be projects for the betterment of the residents.
“The residents are very happy since they now have a place where to gather together,” Laping added.
“We are glad about the bulk of projects given to the people of Maluso,” Bud said.
He added the projects will be of great help in uplifting the lives of his constituents and will promote peaceful and safe environment.
He said the P2 million worth of motorboat and fishing supplies will boost the livelihood of the fisher folks cooperative of Barangay Lower Port Holland.
Bud said he was also thankful that President Rodrigo R. Duterte heeded to their request that the town’s municipal waters be made exclusive to local fisher folks.
Hataman vowed that his administration will intensify efforts to protect them.
Hataman recalled that “historically, Maluso was a fishing port.”
“All of the fish brought to Zamboanga City and Isabela City come from Maluso,” he added.
Meanwhile, Anwar Upahm, ARMM-HELPS director, said Barangay Tubigan will also receive birthing facilities, armchairs for schools, and cattle for farmers this year.
Upahm said that Barangay Lower Port Holland had earlier received a barangay hall and a youth and women center.
He said that ARMM-HELPS has served a total of 85 barangays since 2014 in this province.
He said that eight of the 85 barangays are in this town and these are Batungal, Tamuk, Taberlongan, Upper Port Holland, Tubigan, Abong-Abong, Fuente Maluso and Lower Port Holland.
The ARMM-HELPS is a convergence initiative of the regional government and is regarded as the centerpiece of the Hataman administration, which has been pursuing programs through the regional line agencies.
The ARMM-HELPS projects include barangay health stations, flea markets, and water systems.
It also supports cooperatives and provides medicines and birthing supplies and equipment for its health component.
Day 1 of the 3-day activity:
Assessment and Planning for 2018 ARMM-HELPS programs participated by PMO staff, provincial coordinators and community facilitators.
Highlight to the activity is the presentation of PMO updates and the Revised Barangay Profile delivered by Anwar A. Upahm, the program manager, and Coordinators’ updates from the five provinces of ARMM.
Moreover, DILG representative Alibaer Pangandaman also have presented the enhanced Barangay Governance Performance Management System (BGPMS) form as one required to be accomplished by the program’s beneficiary barangays.
ARMM-HELPS and Project Manager Anwar Upahm at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Pasig City. for Partners’ Forum on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Regional Development Plan (RDP) 2017-2020
The event was organized by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) together with the Autonomous Regional Government (ARG) and was attended by the different line agencies of ARMM and the partners for development.
The Partners’ Forum aims to generate support from the national and international partners in the implementation of the ARMM-RDP.