By Mohammed T. Mustapha-DTI ARMM
ALBARKA, BASILAN – “I will bring this to share with my children because this is our first time to savour the taste of the city “Nanam da ira,” said a Yakan woman when she received a packed lunch of Jollibee Chicken Joy, courtesy of the Department of Trade and Industry –Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Officials and workers of the Department of Trade and Industry-ARMM had picked the “nanam da ira” (Yakan for “taste of the city”) from a beneficiary of orientation on small business management conducted by the agency during the launching of the ARMM-H.E.L.P.S. on February 7, 2013 in Barangay Cambug, Al Barka.
Professor Sangkula A. Tindick, Regional Secretary of DTI-ARMM noticed that some of the participants opted to keep their Jollibee lunch packs untouched as others partook of their shares. When the Secretary asked them why, a woman in her late 30s answered: “I’ll take home the “Nanam Da Ira “taste of the city” for my children.
Over the last two decades, this “quiet revolution” changes the image of the ARMM governance to its constituents, as it reaches out to far-flung depressed areas.
The Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (H.E.L.P.S.) integrates programs, projects and activities of ARMM line-agencies in efforts to improve services, and is gaining fair reactions from the people.
In Barangay, Cambug, Al Barka, some beneficiaries were overheard saying they have rarely met their local officials, much less the other government officials and employees.
“We now feel that there is still a government who cares us,” said a man who was apparently shy when asked of his name.
In terms of healthcare services, the ARMM-H.E.L.P.S., a banner program of the ARMM under Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman, also aims to minimize maternal and infant incidence of deaths, as well as reduce prevalence of malnourished children, provide access to better education. In livelihood program, orientations on micro-enterprises utilizing available resources were made available to community families of marginal income level. On general community welfare, improvement of the communities’ peace and order situation is a primary concern of the ARMM-H.E.L.P.S. Convergence, even as it fosters strengthening of the UN-sponsored Open Governance Partnership through transparency and accountability.
“We are here to bring the government to you my dear people,” said by Regional Governor Hataman during his speech in the launching program. Governor Hataman, with his Cabinet members, converged to reach out to the ground and provide the basic services.
First Pilot Area for ARMM H.E.L.P.S. Launching
Basilan is the first to host the launching of ARMM H.E.L.P.S., one of the three (3) chosen barangays is Barangay Cambug in the municipality of Al Barka. It is a small barangay with a total population of 4,000 in 575 households based on 2010 survey of National Statistics Office. This barangay, a predominantly Yakan community in the northern part of Al Barka, has a total land area of 959 hectares composed of seven sitios.
Most of the people in the area are farmers and fisherfolks. Farmers are growing fruit- bearing trees, corn, cassava and vegetables. Barangay Cambug is also considered as one the fish capitals of Al Barka.
About 1.000 individuals from barangay Cambug received goods and services from the ARMM Government. These include, free medical check-up and medicines provided by the Department of Health, seedlings from Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, relief good from Department of Social Welfare and Development, and pledges and commitments from other agencies.
As the trade and industry promoter of the region, the DTI extended an orientation on entrepreneurship, basically on small business management. Secretary Tindick shared his mastery of this field. “You can start your own business by utilizing your available resources. We will teach you how to market your products. We have our commitment to produce successful businesses from among you,” the Secretary pointed out.
Ostensibly, the impact of reaching out to the impoverished communities motivated the morale of the ARMM constituency.
The simple gesture of sharing slices of taken home Jollibee chicken joy tells the story straight from the heart. The taste of the city is a dream no more.