Opening a door of opportunity

“We were educated, provided with knowledge, served well and ask us of what we need”.

This is how People’s Organization of Barangay Tonggol, General Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao described the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) in implementing the Mindanao Trust Fund for Reconstruction and Development Program (MTF-RDP).

According to Kedzie Omal, Vice-President of the said PO, BDA has brought development to their community. He compared conditions in the village before the MTF program, particularly related to farming.  .

“Before, we have low income from farming, the process was difficult. It would take us almost a month in preparing the land for farming. Now that we have the farm implements, farming became easier for us, he shared.

The farmers said that before the BDA and MTF came into their barangay, only a few farmers owned machinery themselves.   This meant they had to pay to rent the machines.  This was expensive.  And sometimes the machines were not available since others also use them.

“For rental only, there is already higher capital for it that’s why it was really difficult”, the farmer accounted.

He related that through the assistance provided to them, their life has improved. Their income has increased, enabling them to better support their families.

Manifestations of these developments in their barangay are seen in the physical appearance of their community. There is a good peace and order situation – everyone is united. An increase in the population of the barangay is also concrete evidence that development is happening.

According to the Brgy. Captain, people from other barangays and even from other municipalities are coming to their barangay to live. “This is because they see that our living condition here is improving”, the Brgy. Captain said.

From the total population of 1,665 shown in the result of the Base Mapping, the population has increased by 12.43%. Now the barangay has a population of 1,872 as revealed in the recent BM updating activity of the program on the profile of the barangay.

Further, the People’s Organization shared that mobile merchants from different places are coming in to their barangay to sell various products and goods. According to them, these sellers come because they know that they can sell their products since people have better income from the good harvest.

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“Before, we do not have those sellers here, but when this improvement in our barangay starts happening, they are also coming in, because they know that they can have buyers and they will gain profit, Farouk accounted.

The PO President also stated that unity and cooperation were built between them not only in their organization but also with other members of the community as a whole. They recognized this change through the Values Transformation Training (VTT) that was conducted by the BDA during the social preparation phase of the program.

“VTT is really good because it is according to the teachings of Islam, related the PO Vice-President.

He said that through the VTT, values are taught and instilled to them, helping them to properly take on their roles and responsibilities in handling the program process. Along with this process, everyone becomes united and each of them learned to recognize the rights, skills and capacities of the other. Mutual respect among them is developed.

According to Farouk, when BDA came to the village with the MTF program, the door for opportunities opened. They got to know each other better, recognized the needs of the others and from that they become united in working together for the betterment of their community.