Cotabato City (July 22, 2015) – In a bid to address the remaining gaps and challenges on inequity in the delivery of basic socio-economic services, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has established a flagship direct assistance program dubbed as ‘Empowering the Bangsamoro Region through Active Community Engagements in the ARMM’ (EMBRACE-ARMM).John Louie Balagot, the regional government’s deputy executive secretary and concurrent program manager of EMBRACE-ARMM, said Governor Mujiv Hataman has underscored the need to strengthen the ‘May K ka sa ARMM’ program, which was established in 2013, specifically to further improve the mechanisms and to optimize the achievement of its objectives of helping needy communities.
In June 2015, the Office of the Regional Governor created EMBRACE-ARMM through Executive Order No. 017. Pursuant to Section 7, Article II of Republic Act No. 9054, the regional government is mandated “to devote its resources to the improvement of the well-being of all its constituents, particularly the marginalized, deprived, disadvantaged, underprivileged, disabled and the elderly.”
“The ARMM government is committed to empower its people and communities by providing access to basic social services,” said Balagot. The program comprises three key components namely education, medical assistance and livelihood.
The scholarship program, or Academic Investment for Muslim Mindanao commonly known in the past as ‘Iskolar: Para sa Pagbabago, Para sa Bangsamoro’, is among the direct assistance programs of the regional government to help underprivileged students pursue college degrees.
“Education is one of the main thrusts of the reform agenda of the ARMM government under the administration of Governor Mujiv Hataman and we would like to tell our constituents that we will continuously deliver opportunities to bring education closer to them,” said Balagot.
A total of P24 million has been earmarked for the scholarship program and as of this month, it has assisted 1,539 students across the region. Balagot also announced the holding of a scholars’ assembly for the province of Maguindanao on July 28 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, ARMM Compound in Cotabato City.
Meanwhile, the other key component, known as Regional Governor’s Medical Assistance Program, provides financial assistance to ARMM constituents who have health problems.
The regional government has allocated P1 million to four partner hospitals for this purpose namely the Cotabato Regional Medical Center in Cotabato City for Maguindanao; Amay Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi for Marawi City and Lanao del Sur; Basilan General Hospital for Basilan; and Zamboanga City Medical Center for Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
EMBRACE-ARMM also promotes projects on livelihood consistent with its objectives to provide sufficient and sustainable source of income for the region’s constituents. “We are gearing up for a better Bangsamoro and this program is one the best preparations that we could set for our people,” Governor Hataman said. (Bureau of Public Information)