Fifty families in Barangay Simsiman, one of the barangays under BARMM’s Special Geographic Area (SGA) in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, will soon establish a strong community after receiving resettlement housing units from the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development, the Housing Arm of the BARMM, on March 4, 2024.

“This shows our concern for the Bangsamoro as one of the government agencies led by Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim. This is the second awarding in SGA, the first was in Buricain. To the beneficiaries, we have built houses for you through the Bangsamoro government, we hope that you transform them into homes. It is the family who lives together and loves each other that creates a viable community, and the MHSD will be there to help you even after you move in. May you work together in building a peaceful community working to develop the Bangsamoro,” said Minister Atty. Hamid Aminoddin D. Barra after congratulating the beneficiaries.

With Minister Barra, the awarding was led by Senior Minister Abunawas L. Maslamama, Bangsamoro Director General Esmael W. Ebrahim, Member of the Parliament (MP) Dr. Kadil M. Sinolinding and SGA Development Authority Administrator Butch M. Malang, and it made new residents of the resettlement housing project express their delight and gratitude upon receiving the keys to their new homes after decades of the Bangsamoro struggle.

Senior Minister Maslamama recounted the Bangsamoro struggle and proudly looked upon the housing units as a fruit of the blood, sweat and tears of the generations-long struggle for autonomy.

BDG Ebrahim highlighted that the awarding was purposefully held just before Ramadhan so that the new residents may fast in their new homes. He reassured any qualified families that, although they were not included in the current roster of recipients, they should be patient as more housing projects are set to continue in SGA due to the location being close to the Chief Minister’s heart.

“The Chief Minister targets to gradually serve all of the needy families in the Bangsamoro, seeing as we at the MHSD need to close a housing gap in the BARMM recorded at 300,000. As the MHSD continues to grow, the implementation is also expected to improve, meaning that even better housing units may rise in future projects,” BDG Ebrahim said.

MP Sinolinding lauded the MHSD’s housing project, then announced that he is looking into funding a water system for the residents of the housing project under his Transitional Development Impact Fund (TDIF).

He added that the Bangsamoro who have fought for their autonomy are now slowly and steadily witnessing developments in their once war-ravaged homes.

“We tried to raise our houses larger than these [the resettlement housing project units], many times before but ours always remained small because it would turn to ashes. Let us accept these houses gifted to us by the Bangsamoro government. May they [leaders] live long and prosperous to serve more of the Bangsamoro. May more blessings come to us [residents of Simsiman] so long as we remain united, loving and peaceful,” shared Abdulsalam T. Enson, one of the beneficiaries of the project.

Dr. Alimen W. Sencil, Chief of Staff representing the Office of MP Mohammad Kelie Antao, also hinted at a similar project to be funded through TDIF, the details of which will be announced at a later date by the MP himself.

Engr. Borhana U. Katak-Odin, representing Mohajirin T. Ali, Program Manager of the Special Development Fund-Project Management Office (SDF-PMO) and BDG of the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority, shared that the project was funded under the SDF 2020, which is reserved for projects and programs aimed to rebuild, rehabilitate and develop conflict-affected areas in the BARMM.

The activity was facilitated by the Housing and Human Settlements Division led by Chief Abdulhamid C. Alawi, Jr., Planning and Design Division led by Chief Engr. Zainodin A. Buisan and the MHSD-SGA led by OIC-Provincial Director (PD) Engr. Normelyn A. Ibad.

Also witnessing the momentous event were MHSD-Maguindanao PD Noroden S. Abdullah, RF, Brgy. Chairman Hon. Sammy Talib Singh, MHSD Staff, representatives from the Bangsamoro Information Office and residents of Brgy. Simsiman.

The MHSD’s Community Support Services Section will assist the new residents in adapting to their new houses, especially in the establishment of their Homeowners Association (HOA).