By Lady Jean Kabagani
MARAWI CITY, March 5 (PIA ICCC) – Members of Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. (CSFI) led the ceremonial groundbreaking and capsule laying of an agri-business facility commonly called as “bagsakan center” at Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa here.
CSFI president and chairperson Luli Arroyo-Bernas said the CSFI consulted the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and Marawi local government unit on what specific project that could be implemented for the conflict-afflicted residents.
The “Bagsakan center” project is worth P6 million to be built in about six months time.
“Iyon po iyong nakolekta ng kongreso, iyan po ibibigay namin for the whole project kasama ang dalawang vehicle para sa mga farmers, para madala iyong mga ani nila dito sa bagsakan center,” said Arroyo.
[This is what Congress has collected and we will turn-over the whole project including two vehicles for the farmers to help them transport their products here at bagsakan center.]
Aside from providing vehicles for the farmers, the foundation will also shoulder the payment for the gasoline within three months.
Meanwhile, Nasser Macasinding, one of the farmer-beneficiaries said the project will be a great help for them in bringing their livelihood back to business.
He added that the siege has greatly affected their livelihood since their produced farm products have to be transferred to the neighboring barangays of Marawi City.
“Nawala ang market namin dito, kailangan pa namin pumunta ng Saguiran at Iligan para magbenta, dagdag pa sa gastusin ang para sa truck,” Macasinding said.
[We lose our markets here, we need to go to Saguiaran and Iligan to trade our products and we still have to pay the cost of the truck fare.]
With this, two farmer cooperatives will benefit from the project and will be tasked to manage the agri-center for sustainability.
Another “Bagsakan center” is slated to be built inside the most affected area (MAA) after the debris clearing operations.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles assured that the areas belonging to MAA are the utmost priority of the foundation.
“Yung clearing ng ground zero ng mga areas ng marawi city ay top priority pa rin natin. Naintindihan naman po natin kailangan maclear muna ang unexploded bago tuluyang makapasok lahat ng proyekto ng gobyerno,” Nograles said.
[The clearing of the ground zero of the areas in Marawi City is still our top priority. We understand the need for clearing the unexploded bombs before all the government projects can start there.]
CSFI had already been implementing socio-civic projects in the past for the recovery of the residents of Marawi through the Congressional Spouses Para Ko Mga Pababasok (COPA) project. The organization distributed relief goods, financial assistance and even organized a fundraising drive for the families of soldiers and for the livelihood programs of the affected residents.
COPA is a Maranao term which bats for a farmer-centered, community-based and sustainable approach to providing agricultural livelihood support through establishing a strategically located agri-hub for the Marawi residents.
Previously, the House of Representatives and Committee on Accounts had turned- over a donation of P6 million to the CSFI to rebuild and rehabilitate Marawi. (LJKabagani/PIA ICCC)