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ARMM district engineers now involved in HELPS program

 • 02:09 AM Sat Sep 5, 2015
John Unson
Officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao affix their signatures to an agreement involving ARMM’s eight District Engineering Offices in the HELPS Program of the regional government. (Photo by John Unson)

COTABATO CITY -Officials on Friday expanded the service network of the Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance Synergy (HELPS) program of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.The HELPS program, launched in 2013, is meant to hasten the restoration of normalcy in impoverished peasant and fishing communities.ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, Regional Public Works Secretary Don Mustapha Loong and the chiefs of the region’s eight district engineering offices (DEOs) signed here an agreement binding them to cooperate in the implementation of HELPs infrastructure projects.The project involves 100 barangays located in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in mainland Mindanao, and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.Hataman said the DEOs will implement this time the HELPS infrastructure thrusts, to be bankrolled by the ARMM government.He said the infrastructure interventions are needed to expedite the socio-economic growth of barangays that are still reeling from the adverse effects of armed conflicts and natural calamities in decades past.The ARMM will supervise and fund the HELPs infrastructure initiatives through its Integrated Project Management Office (IPMO) in Cotabato City.Besides its economic agenda, the HELPS is also aimed at decreasing infant and maternal mortality and malnutrition among school children, provide children access to public schools, extend livelihood interventions to villagers and to foster peace through efficient community governance.The ARMM launched the HELPS program in 2013 in selected barangays, mostly in far-flung areas, where presence of government is virtually unfelt. So far we have 80 to 90 percent accomplishment of the initial HELPS projects in the region,” Hataman said.Hataman said more HELPS projects will be implemented soon with the help of the DPWH-ARMM and its component DEOs in the region’s five component provinces.Nor Saada, chief of the IPMO, said the 100 HELPS beneficiary-barangays are scattered across 82 of the region’s more than a hundred municipalities.Saada also affixed his signature to the agreements signed on Friday by Hataman, Loong and the ARMM’s district engineers at the Office of the Regional Governor in Cotabato City.The HELPS program aims to construct 506 infrastructure facilities needed in the promotion of ARMM’s education, security and public administration interventions for target barangays. This is delivering services right at the doorstep of these recipient-barangays,” Saada said.The infrastructure projects will include facilities needed to boost productivity of peasant and fishing communities.

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