COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Jan. 23, 2008) - A village in the southern Filipino province of Lanao del Sur, whose Maranaw name literally means “risky” is risky no more.
Its newly-built indigenous “tire path,” constructed by Maranaw residents in the village called Pagalamatan, a hinterland community in Tubaran town, ushered reconciliation of feuding clans and brought considerable improvements to the local economy.
“Pagalamatan” means “risky,” or ”dangerous,” or “hazardous,” in the local Maranaw dialect.
The construction of the tire path, which is made of two separate strips of concrete pavements fit only for wheels of jeeps and motorcycles, was bankrolled by the World Bank through the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Social Fund Project (ASFP).
Conaifah Amerol, Tubaran’s facilitator for ASFP projects, said the tire path traverses communities whose farm-to-market roads were impassable during rainy days. The village of Pagalamatan has is inhabited by more than a thousand mostly marginalized Maranaws surviving only on farming as their main source of income.
“In the past, Maranaw farm products rot in their houses during the rainy days, but that was before. Now, Maranaw farmers can transport their harvest to markets in nearby towns because of the all-weather tire paths,” Amerol said.
It was for the dramatic improvements in the productivity of farmers that many feuding clans in the village -- some of them locked in decades old “rido,” or family feud -- have agreed to reconcile and venture peacefully into communal agricultural projects instead.
“More than a hundred people have been killed in previous hostilities among feuding clans in Pagalamatan alone,” Amerol said as he recalled the bitter war that had affected many people in the village.
Farmer Mustapha Arimau, 45, said his income from corn farming increased by three folds during the past two cropping seasons since the construction of the tire path. “Now, our village is finally linked by the tire path to the market in Tubaran’s town proper,” he said.
Arimau said he and hundreds of farmers did not hesitate to help build the tire path when its implementation concept was introduced by the ASFP, which is jointly managed by lawyer Mustapha Sambolawan and Gov. Datu Zaldy Ampatuan, of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
He said they are thankful and grateful for the efforts of Ampatuan, under whose administration many ASFP projects for poor communities have been implemented in the ARMM.
Amerol said the newly-built tire path also made the village of Pagalamatan accessible to their municipal health workers. “Municipal health workers now reach the village even during the rainy days to serve the people,” Amerol said. (Jerick Wee)