Taking a significant stride towards securing a promising future for families who have endured the ravages of war, the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD), the Housing Arm of the BARMM, spearheaded a groundbreaking ceremony in collaboration with the Local Government Unit (LGU) for the Housing Development Project in Sitio Marayag, Brgy. Bayanga Norte, Matanog, Maguindanao del Norte on March 10, 2024.

Backed by the Special Development Fund 2022, this transformative housing project has officially begun, marking an essential moment in the lives of its intended beneficiaries. The ceremony symbolized a beacon of hope and stability in the village, answering years of prayers for assistance and a brighter tomorrow as shared by the officials from the Ministry and the LGU.

With a substantial budget of PHP43.7 million, the project aims to build 50 housing units, an entrance archway, and a level 3 solar-powered water system. This system will be intricately linked to the individual houses, as highlighted by Engr. Zainodin A. Buisan, Chief of the Planning and Design Division (PDD) of the MHSD.

The housing units, valued at PHP764,400.00 each, encompass 48 square meters and feature three bedrooms, an outdoor kitchen, a living room, a dining area, and a bathroom. This thoughtful design aligns with Islamic principles, ensuring separate rooms for male and female children within the family.

Director General Esmael W. Ebrahim expressed his delight for having the project that will serve as legacy for all, in which the Ministry and the LGU have become part of the historic occasion.

“Even in the hereafter, we will be witnesses that in one way or another, we have delivered and have been part of ‘jihad fi sabilillah’ and the sacrifices of our brothers who have been martyrized in this area, have borne fruit and we feel it and is evident with the implementation of this project,” he remarked.

Meanwhile in her message of commitment, Hon. Mayor Zohria S. Bansil-Guro said Matanog is gateway to One Maguindanao then, now Maguindanao del Norte. She took the stakeholders back to history before the signing of the peace agreement where one can breathe freely upon reaching the Town of Parang as Matanog had terrifying stories being the center of the all-out war in the year 2000.

“There were no houses in this area during the all-out war, that is why we strive hard to change the narrative as first impression lasts. With the peace agreement in place, we strive to establish clear indicators of progress in this very community,” Mayor Guro stressed.

“Before, this place was haunted by gunfire, we are to transform it into Darussalam or Home of Peace and this signifies our unwavering commitment to shift this municipality from a war zone to an economic hub; and regardless of external support, we will remain committed as we consider the peace agreement a precious gift to Matanog as we do not want the war to happen again,” she affirmed.

“This responsibility extends beyond the BARMM to the national government. Every development initiative is intertwined with peace sustenance, a testament to effective governance and the fulfillment of peace accords,” she concluded.

The officials and participants of the groundbreaking ceremony received a warm welcome from Hon. Vice Mayor Sanaira I. Ali.

As the program drew to a close, Director for Operations and Management Services Salem C. Demuna motivated the group, marking the official start of the groundbreaking ceremony.