At least 403 barangays in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have benefited from the regional government’s anti-poverty program since it started in 2013.
Dubbed “Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance and Synergy (ARMM-HELPS),” the program is the region’s top priority under Governor Mujiv Hataman.
For 2017 alone, the ARMM focused on 150 barangays and took into account the effects of the five-month fighting in Marawi City (https://armm.gov.ph/403-barangays-benefit-armms-anti-poverty-program/).
The ARMM noted infrastructure built under the ARMM-HELPS program in Lumbaca Madaya in Marawi City were destroyed during the five-month war.
Because of this, the program earmarked over P300 million for barangay beneficiaries in Lanao del Sur, and another P150 million for barangays in Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
“Everyone in the community should be involved in the whole process of making the projects – they are the ones who identify the projects,” said ARMM-HELPS program manager Anwar Upahm.
Upahm said they want to prevent white elephant projects, and thus do not implement programs without consultations down to the barangay level.
The services delivered by the program include barangay health stations, provision of medicines and birthing supplies and equipment for its health component.
It has also helped in the development of madaris curriculum to combat violent extremism, as well as the construction of community learning centers for education, and study tour for teachers.
Under the program, the regional government also constructed flea markets and water systems, and supported livelihood cooperative development based on needs assessment.
Meanwhile, the regional government also built new barangay halls with police action centers, and promoted disaster preparedness and management training.
It also distributed rescue equipment and other supplies, and developed Barangay Development Plans and youth development support programs.
“Other than the fulfillment of being able to deliver by implementing all the projects, the best achievement (ARMM-HELPS) holds is that we were able to transform the system of ARMM’s project development from being top-down, to bottom-up,” Upahm said.