Monday Oct, 26 2020 12:20:43 AM

BDA: New hanging bridge to improve life in Lanao Sur's isolated community

Mindanao Peace Process • 10:30 AM Fri Feb 28, 2020
Norhana Kabagani/BDA

MARAWI CITY – Life in a remote village in Lanao del Sur is expected to improve with the completion and expected turnover of a hanging bridge that gives sense of security and economic benefits to the locals. It will be turned over officially to the beneficiaries on March 6.

The Php6,985,403.55 worth hanging bridge project was built in Barangay Sawer, Masiu, Lanao del Sur, an isolated community located within the perimeter of Camp Bushra of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It is funded under the Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Project Phase II (#MTFRDP/2) and is in support to the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)

Barangay Sawer in Masiu, Lanao del Sur is a home to M'ranao community. Farming is the major source of income in the village and residents in the place have been dreaming of better bridge to improve their living condition.

To reach the barangay, kilometers of walk is required, with a climb to a local stair made by the community.

A locally-made zipline was built to ease the way in crossing the river, but is actually not safe for the residents. The zipline was manually operated by the people in the area, pulling together the rope.

The coming of development assistance in the barangay, through the MTFRDP/2 has given greater hope for the people towards the realization of their dreams.

The hanging bridge is now a concrete 200 meters pathway. Through this project, the community will have better access to and from the barangay.

To reach their homes, transport their products, for kids going to school, for women going to the market, for better life.

With the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.) as the project implementing unit (PIU) and the Community and Family Services International (CFSI), MTFRDP/2 aims to improve access of targeted communities in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao to basic socio-economic infrastructure and alternative learning system; comprised of engaging the communities through a community-driven development with an end view of making those productive, participative and peaceful communities.

Moreover, this is in line with the Normalization Aspect of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The identification of the sub-project was based on the priority list of the Joint Task Forces on Camps Transformation (JTFCT) previously conducted and was validated and consulted to the community members and stakeholders.

The Sawer Pag-asa Service Cooperative (SPSC), a peoples organization, was mobilized to undertake related activities and responsibilities for the project management, operation and maintenance.

Guided by the community-driven development (CDD) principle, community participation in the project is highly encouraged. 

“Isang benefit ng project na ito ay para sa mga bata na pumupunta sa school. Pag bumabaha naman ng malakas, hirap kami tumawid. Yong dating tulay na gawa sa kawayan nasira po ng baha.  Kaya nagpapasalamat talaga kami, masaya lahat ng mga tao ditto,” said one of the mothers in the village.

A farmer was equally elated with the project.

“Nagpasalamat talaga kami sa lahat ng mga tao at grupong nagtulungan para sa proyektong ito. Madali na para sa amin ang paglabas ng aming produkto,” he said.

The people’s organizations (POs) that were formed in each community-recipient takes responsibility of the operation and management of the sub-projects implemented and turned over to them.

To ensure that they have the enough knowledge and skills, various capacity building activities were organized for them such as values training, procurement training, leadership, sub-project management, operation and maintenance, financial literacy and management, and among others.

The construction of the hanging bridge in Brgy. Sawer, Masiu, Lanao del Sur is notable for all project stakeholders.

There were many challenges such as remoteness of the project location, difficulty of access to transport building materials, among others.

But with the strong will and dedication of all partners, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA Inc.), Community and Family Services International (CFSI), Joint Task Forces on Camps Transformation (JTFCT), the contractor (Kouzbary Builders) and the community; and with the understanding and support of The World Bank as fund administrator of the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF), there was no mountain too high.

Appropriate strategies were employed with proper communication and coordination to counter the pressing issues and concerns that were affecting the project implementation.

The common aspiration to build better places for the present and future generation- in line with the goal towards transforming from conflict into peaceful and productive communities, prevailed over those obstacles. 

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