COTABATO CITY (October 12, 2023) — Government entities are to embark on more multi-sector peacebuilding programs in towns in Cotabato province where there are Bangsamoro barangays ideal for capital-intensive agricultural projects.
There are 63 Bangsamoro barangays in different towns in Cotabato, a component province of Administrative Region 12.
Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño Mendoza said Thursday she and the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade shall also help secure on-going infrastructure projects of the Bangsamoro local government ministry in the 63 barangays, meant to hasten decentralization of basic services.
`Spill over effect’
“Strong governance in these barangays is so essential in generating confidence of investors in the local business climate. Our business communities in the province, which is not under the Bangsamoro government, stand to benefit from that too,” Mendoza said.
Army officials led by Brig. Gen. Donald M. Gumiran of the 602nd Infantry Brigade and Mendoza met last week and planned the expansion of civil-military peacebuilding programs in towns in Cotabato province where the 63 barangays are located.
Gumiran said the dialogue was partly in support of the efforts of the Bangsamoro Business Council and the Regional Board of Investments to entice foreign capitalists to come in and venture into viable agricultural projects in the scattered 63 Moro farming enclaves.
Peace brings in investments
Cotabato province, covering 17 towns and more than 40 barangays in its capital, Kidapawan City, had generated P1.7 billion worth of investments in the past 17 months, according to records obtained from mayors, from two organizations of local traders and provincial staff members of of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Gumiran said Thursday the construction in the past 12 months of more than a dozen barangay halls in some of the 63 Bangsamoro barangays by the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government-BARMM is helping catalyze cordiality between state agencies involved in local socio-economic and humanitarian missions and former Moro rebels residing in beneficiary-areas.
“They now feel the presence of government and investors from outside, in effect, also feel now that coming in to propagate short-term crops, or plant Cavendish bananas, or oil palm trees is viable. Thanks to MILG-BARMM,” Gumiran said.
Mayor Rolly C. Sacdalan of Midsayap, where there are Bangsamoro barangays, said the MILG-BARMM’s grant just last July of P83 million worth of farming equipment, including tractors, mechanized harvesters, rice and corn planters, to his Moro constituents will boost their rice and corn harvests that they are to sell to Christian traders in their town center.
“We support peace programs needed to sustain the cordiality among Muslim farming communities and the Christian merchants in town centers in Cotabato province,” Sacdalan, himself an entrepreneur-politician, said.
Photo show the new barangay hall in the Moro-dominated Barangay Gli-Gli in Pikit town in Cotabato province, built by the MILG-BARMM. (JOHN UNSON)