ATI Supports Philippine Army's Strengthening War Against Poverty Program

Development partners affixed their signatures as a sign of commitment to the project. (Photo by Clemente Gabion)

LANAO DEL NORTE -- Maigo and Kolambugan are two municipalities in Lanao del Norte severely impaired in an armed conflict in Mindanao in 2008. The battle caused damages to infrastructures, properties, and a great devastation to agricultural lands in the area.

To bring peace in the disturbed municipalities and to improve livelihood of affected locals, the 15th Infantry Battalion (IB), 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army initiated the Strengthening War Against Poverty Program (SWAP). This intervention is in collaboration with various stakeholders in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte including the Agricultural Training Institute through ATI-Regional Training Center X.

SWAP generally aims to strengthen the war against poverty through the involvement of different development partners. This convergence of diverse stakeholders, through the livelihood programs, will contribute in improving quality of living among target beneficiaries.

Initial recipients are two people’s organizations -- the Kalambuan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (KARBC) and the Multi-Sectoral Alliance in Gardening and Organic (MAIGO) Farm, which is composed of displaced families. The program also targets CAFGU and Peace Advocates Association for Sustainable Livelihood (CPAASL).

ATI’s role will focus on assisting the project’s component on Diversified Integrated Farming System through capability building and other agricultural training needs. Other than SWAP, the ATI and 15th IB are collaborating in two on-going projects, namely the From Arms to Farms Program and the Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Project.

During the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing, ATI Director Asterio P. Saliot pledged sincere support to the program. He expressed ATI’s commitment to impart knowledge, time and resources to reach out and help the Philippine Army in this endeavor. Dr. Saliot was glad of the convergence of the different local partners and encouraged everyone to be involved and deliver the responsibilities as expected of them stating that, “walang mabigat kung lahat ay sama-sama.”

“ATI is willing to support in whatever the dreams or plans of the stakeholders,” expressed ATI-RTC X Center Director Angelito Quirog, though this has to come with the partners’ development plan in order to sustain the program. Dr. Quirog also asked for the agencies’ diligence and years of commitment to the program.

Aside from ATI, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office X, Provincial Veterinary Office, Provincial Agriculture Office, Provincial Fisheries Office, Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Trade and Industry were among the development partners gathered on during the MOA signing last November 7, 2014 to start the partnership on SWAP.