Listening to Communities’ Voices

Given the dire socio-economic situation and limited service delivery capacity in many local governments in conflict-affected communities in the Province of Maguindanao, community-driven programs are suitable and even sustainable. Since the late 1990s, CDD has become a key operational strategy for service delivery by empowering local communities in decision- making and resource management. Its effectiveness and relevancy in conflict-affected contexts is also generally acknowledged. CDD was promoted in CAAM; however, in many cases, CDD projects in these areas tend to be small-scale grassroots interventions with limited local government engagement. Often, these projects focus on immediate community needs rather than long-term development potential (Community Development Guidelines, 2013).

Anchored on the CDD Framework, the ANGAT DAPAT Empowerment Program (ADEP) of The Moropreneur Inc (TMI)aims to provide a long-term solution to poverty with the people/community as the key player while the government and private sectors provide enabling environment for change in household situations to take place. As a first step, the core team (composed of government, private, CSO and people representatives) identifies specific barangays in the municipalities of Datu Piang, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, South Upi, Sultan Kudarat and Parang. Here, the selceted barangays will be profiled and studied in terms of the socio-economic characteristics of the place as well as potential commodity or industry to be developed.

Last December 2016, TMI’s team conducted series of community dialogues with the residents of barangay Kanguan in Datu Piang and barangay Dapiawan in Datu Saudi Ampatuan. Barangay leaders, women, youth, and men participated in the dialogue sessions to better understand the advocacies of The Moropreneur Inc; promote accountability among LGU officials; promote important issues for discussion; identify main resources and soource of income; and, encourage people’s participation.

Demography and Economic Profile

The province of Maguindanao is predominantly an agricultural economy that produces rice, corn, coconut, banana, and cassava. Investment opportunity for the province is greatly on agriculture development.

Datu Piang (formerly Dulawan) is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Maguindanao. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 28,492 people in 8,035 households. It is politically subdivided into 16 barangays. It has a total land area of 302.97 km2 (116.98 sq mi) and basically an agricultural land with more than one – half of the total municipal land area is being utilized in agriculture. The common source of livelihood is farming rice and corn; fishing; retail/trade; and, buy and sell. Out of it 16 barangays, one (1) lie along the Dansalan River, thirteen (13) along the Rio Grande de Mindanao, one (1) along the highway and barangay Reina Regente along eastern traversing Rio Grande de Mindanao. It is usually visited by flood where eighty percent (80%) of its lowland areas is adversely affected. The proportion of households with income greater than the poverty threshold is very low at only 45%. This places the poverty incidence in Datu Piang at 55%.

Datu Saudi Ampatuan is a 4th class municipality in the province of Maguindanao. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 26,427 people. It was created under Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 151 on July 1, 2003,[3][4] carved out of the municipality of Datu Piang. It is politically sub-divided into eight (8) barangays. Datu Saudi-Ampatuan is the second poorest municipality in 2012 with a poverty incidence of 83 percent. In 2009, the figure was 43.4 percent.

The LGUs cited the reasons for this high poverty incidence including the volatile peace and order, limited employment opportunities, low agricultural production, lack of market linkage for alternative livelihood and the perennial flooding that destructs most of the agricultural products in both areas.

Hope Amidst Hopelessness

The dialogue revealed that both barangays are occupied by poor families who are displaced from the series of conflict and the annual flooding. Farming is discouraged due to the flood and the residents import their vegetables and fruits from nearby towns. FIshing is a common economic activity since both areas are surrounded by rivers

References:

ARMM – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao”. Census of Population (2015): Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay (Report). PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.

National Statistics Office (2008-04-16). “2007 Census of Population: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-19.

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