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Saturday, June 22, 2024

From War Zone to Economic Zone

Maguindanao and Cotabato areas have witnessed fierce battles between government forces and Moro separatists in the past.

To this day, both are among the poorest provinces in the country, their populace largely subsisting on crop production in less than arable patches that lack irrigation.

During the latter years of the FEM stewardship, the Malitubog Maridagas Irrigation Project (MMIP) was drawn up in a bid to bolster agriculture and the local economy with a view to lift the populace from grinding poverty.

Stage 1 of the MMIP commenced in 1989. The initial phase covered 5,562 hectares in Maridagao and 1,611 hectares in the upper Malitubog service area.

Stage 2 was carried out from 2011 to 2015 and covered croplands in Pangalungan and Datu Montawal in Maguindanao del Sur, and Pikit and Alaosan in Cotabato.

The next phase covered 9,528 hectares. The project had 3,100 beneficiaries. Flooding and right of way problems had hindered the full implementation of MIIP.

MMIP was resumed in 2023, under the stewardship of PBBM; 8,020 hectares were partially irrigated. Too, a farm-to-market service road was built to facilitate better delivery of local produce to markets and elsewhere to ensure steady income to the local populace.

Indeed, the transformation of an erstwhile combat zone to a growing economic zone is about to become another success story under the guidance of PBBM.

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