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(Photo from Mayor Rommel Arnado's official Facebook page)

Lanao del Norte - Mayor Rommel Arnado of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte describes the pilot Rural Resettlement of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Rural Resettlement Project as having a complete value chain, from production to marketing, that can complement their local programs.

“I am in full support of this program. This is a challenge but it is not a burden. This is another program which I am deeply engaged in and I am committed to making this successful,” Arnado said in an online conference with Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and officials of the various national agencies, on Tuesday (May 19).

"For our continuous program on relocation, we are weak on that part because we really lack financing. However, this is a complete value chain program and we need this in our relocation areas,” Arnado said.

He added that the Balik Probinsiya project would discourage people from going to highly urbanized areas and would allow skills training, which would capacitate them.

He also pointed out that the program can be implemented in their existing project, the “arms to farms” program.

“If you can see, even if we only help them through small financing but because we capacitate them and we deliver from the heart we are able to convince them to be with us and that’s the reason why our town is peaceful,” he added.

Arnado also said that he asked the permission of Governor Imelda Dimaporo to use their real property tax income in the payment of the resettlement property.

“This property will not come cheap. This is an investment of around PHP20 million and I already talked to the governor and she’s willing to put up half of the amount,” he added.

On the other hand, Piñol said Arnado, who is an organic farming advocate, has signified the town's interest to accept the first 200 families who would like to return home to the municipality or any Lanao del Norte town.

"They will live in a five-hectare housing-with-livelihood activity in Barangay Kudaran," he said, adding that the municipal government has already committed to providing gardening equipment, such as small tractors and tools for the first Balik Probinsya beneficiaries for Lanao del Norte.

As the first rural resettlement project, Piñol said that he suggested to the mayor that they would focus on organic agricultural production, particularly in broiler chicken production.

"In our meeting, he also said he preferred the production of broiler chicken as a cascading project since it will produce chicken dung that could be used as a soil enhancer,” he added. To complete the value chain, MinDA commits to look for buyers of the produce of Kauswagan.

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