For the implementation of the Phase II Housing Project, a groundbreaking ceremony was conducted by the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development that kicked off the construction of the initial 40 housing units in Barangay Semba, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, as one of two symbolic programs of the ministry for the celebration of the Bangsamoro Foundation Day on January 21.

Planning Officer Zainodin Buisan stated that the next 100 housing units are targeted for posting for procurement by March or April, this year upon the release of budget.

The Marawi Rehabilitation Program (MRP), as well as the conceptualization of the release of the Special Development Fund (SDF) for former combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), both belong to the on-going projects of the MHSD. There are also plans on distributing similar projects to the whole region, with locations aimed in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Cotabato City, the 63 Barangays of North Cotabato, and the Island Provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, under the Bangsamoro Appropriations Act (BAA) 2021.

The total saleable plots for the Phase 2 can accommodate 193 housing units according to Abdullah Dipatuan, Chief of the Housing and Human Settlements Division. He said additional 100 units are planned for 2021, while the remaining 53 will be constructed in 2022.

“Even some of the employees of the BARMM do not have their own houses, so this is an opportunity for them to finally have their own home to live in with their families”, Chief Dipatuan added.

“We are here to serve the people, we are here to continue the struggle of the Bangsamoro, so I appeal to all of our staff, all of our directors, all of our engineers: we do this as part of our faith. We do this not for personal gain, but we do this for Allah (S.W.T.)”, MHSD Director General Esmail W. Ebrahim said.

“The BARMM has always been identified as a land region, but, inshaa Allah, with the release of our block grant, we might be able to give priority to addressing the housing project, and in the Parliament, they will see to it that (a) sizeable share from the block grant should go to housing development. Necessarily, it will mean that we will not stop here, but we will exercise every effort along the way to achieve the goal by which the MHSD was organized for”, MHSD Deputy Minister Jose I. Lorena remarked.

The MHSD, through the MBE Construction and Supply, started its mobilization activities for Phase 2 last year 2020, however, the on-site delivery of initial construction materials, such as sand and gravel, was a bit delayed as affected by the pandemic and other unavoidable circumstances.

Despite all these, the ministry exhausted possible means to pursue the construction of the housing units that is set for completion March this year.