The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) headed by Minister Dr. Mohammad S. Yacob and other key officials have met for the first time and warmly welcomed the five (5) Local Chief Executives from the province of Basilan in a meeting on January 7, 2021 at MAFARs Conference Room, BGC Compound, Cotabato City.

Minister Yacob in his message said that he was very glad and honored to meet the Local Chief Executives and warmly welcomes them to MAFAR. He further stated that only half of the budget were implemented because of the pandemic COVID that “we have encountered last CY 2019-2020 and were still battling, and it was a big challenge for all of us”. He then ask the Planning to present the Budget, viz:
MAFAR Planning Officer Fahad Kanakan presented the Budget Allocation for Programs and the Source of Fund for 2020 BAA (Bangsamoro appropriation Act), 2020 SDF (Special Development Fund), 2020 TDIP (Transitional Development Impact Fund), 2021 BEP (Bangsamoro Expenditure Program) and COVID-19 Support Funds.

Yacob reiterated the need to collaborate with the LGUs, to ask for their guidance as the ministry was geared toward the intention for higher productivity. And he committed that a memorandum will be sent to the Director of Basilan to visit the six municipalities for assessment and accreditation for the reason that the ministry has found out that there are still farmers and fisherfolks who are using traditional way of farming.

There were issues and concerns presented by some of the Municipal Mayors like Mayor Alih A. Sali of Municipality of Akbar where he said that their prime commodities like coconut was invaded by “kokolisap” and also rubber. But they thought of another productive and positive way by opening a 12 has. vegetable model farm but the only problem was that they do not have farm equipment.And humbly ask for Minister Yacobs help on this matter. Hon. Tahira Ismael, former Mayor of Lantawan and now holding a position of Municipal Administrator beseech the Minister, that should there be equipment to be given to them, would it be possible if they could directly get it? These are some of the concerns brought up by the LCEs.

The five LCEs who visited MAFAR were, Hon. Darussalam S. Lajid-Municipal Mayor of Albarka; Hon. Lutfurrahman M. Maturan-Mun. Mayor of UngkayaPukan; Hon. Alih S. Sali-Mun. Mayor of Akbar; Hon. Brenda L. Junaid-Mun. Mayor of Tabuan Lasa; Hon. Nursiya I Ismael-Municipal Mayor of Lantawan; Hon. Tahira Ismael-former Mun. Mayor of Lantawan, now Municipal Administrator and serves as the groups spokesperson; Hon. MuctarJunaid-Mun. Councilor of Tabuan Lasa; and Mr. Paruk T. Majirul-former Chief of Staff of former Mayor of Lantawan.

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