Helping a city in ruins

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ABOITIZ turned over last 8 November one of the three bakeries (complete with bakery equipment and supplies) inside the Sagonsongan Transitory Shelter in Marawi City. In photo are four of the beneficiaries together with Task Force Bangon Marawi lead convenor Penpen Libres, chairperson Ed del Rosario, Aboitiz Equity Ventures COO Sabin Aboitiz and Republic Cement president Nabil Francis.

The Aboitiz Group, through its business units and social development arm Aboitiz Foundation, recently launched a number of sustainable livelihood programs to help Maranaos start anew, a year following the city’s liberation from terrorist groups.

Dubbed “Kawiyagan – Biyaya ng Pagbabago” program, a series of sustainable livelihood initiatives for the residents of Sagonsongan Resettlement Site which temporarily houses thousands of displaced families, will complement government efforts to help the once bustling capital of Lanao Del Sur get back on its feet.

The program includes an agri micro-entrepreneurship program for corn farmers, construction of bakeries and donation of baking equipment with capability-building trainings, donation of hollow-block making kits and sacks of cements to help rebuild structures and donation of electrical equipment to Lanao Del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Lasureco) to help restore power service to Marawi City.

Since last year, the Aboitiz Group has spent nearly P26 million reaching out to displaced families in Marawi.

“The Aboitiz Group is committed to always lend a helping hand to our fellow Filipinos who are in need of prompt assistance. At the heart of the support we give and driven by the value of responsibility, we made sure that our programs were the kind of assistance that would make a significant impact on the lives of displaced Maranaos,” Sabin M. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Equity Ventures chief operating officer, said.

MARAWI City’s internally-displaced persons, who are beneficiaries of Aboitiz’s bakery project, pose with Marawi City Mayor Majul and Aboitiz Equity Ventures COO Sabin Aboitiz.

Honing bakers

Under Kawiyagan (the Maranaon term for “livelihood”) program, Aboitiz inaugurated three newly-constructed bakeries and distributed 12 bakery kits to qualified Kilusang Pagbabago affiliated local groups and organizations in Iligan and Marawi through the Office of the Cabinet Secretary – Office of the Participatory Governance.

Each bakery kit contains a steel oven, bread racks, working table, dough roller, display shelf, delivery bicycle and an initial supply of Pilmico Halal flour. The physical donation is supplemented by bakery training that would help beneficiaries sustain the enterprise.

Jasmine Balt, one of the bakery kits beneficiaries, speaks in behalf of mothers who have lost their income resources after the harrowing five-month-long siege.

“I am very thankful to Aboitiz and Pilmico for giving us this training. If we’ll be given the opportunity to have our own bakery as means of livelihood, it would be such a big help, especially for mothers who have no other source of income,” Balt said.

Yellow corn farmers

Aboitiz forged a partnership with non-stock, non-profit Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship’s GoNegosyo to mentor some 200 Maranao yellow corn producing farmers and link them up to potential buyers.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures’ food subsidiary Pilmico and Aboitiz Foundation, together with GoNegosyo and Task Force Bangon Marawi, rolled out a three-year micro-entrepreneurship partnership program for internally displaced people in Balo-i resettlement area.

The idea is to train (through the Kapatid Mentor Me program) and initially finance these farmers. Once they pass the Pilmico corn quality standard, they will supply a portion of its yellow corn requirements for its various feeds products.

To date, the program has conducted several trainings including entrepreneurial mind-setting, values formation, marketing management, basic canvas model, basic accounting, financial management, and basic cooperative management.

THE bakeries in Marawi City, constructed in partnership with Aboitiz food unit Pilmico, offer an important livelihood opportunity for Marawi City’s citizens. Seen here are some of the bread offerings done at the bakery.

Building a stronger Marawi

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Infrastructure unit Republic Cement launched “Mindanao,” a new line of cement to help ensure that supply is ready for the incoming construction requirements to rebuild Marawi. “Mindanao” is a blended cement Type 1P conforming to Philippine National Standards, exclusively manufactured for “Bangon Marawi” efforts.

“The development of Mindanao coincides with our thrust for nation-building. Our objective is to build stronger homes and stronger structures for a stronger Marawi,” shared Republic Cement Services, Inc. president Nabil Francis.

Apart from promoting quality and locally-made building materials for the rehabilitation of Marawi, Republic Cement donated hollow-block making kits to four cooperatives and have pledged 1,000 bags of Mindanao cement for the rebuilding of structures within Marawi.

AboitizPower distribution unit Davao Light & Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light) also turned over nearly P1.9 million-worth of electrical equipment, power cables and concrete poles to Lasureco during the sustainable livelihood program launch. This new set of donation complements the combined P3.7 million-worth electrical supplies donation made by Davao Light and Cotabato Light & Power Co. to the same beneficiary last February to help fast track power restoration in Marawi.

Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson commended Aboitiz Group for its initiatives to help rebuild Marawi. “Their commitment to helping Filipinos by providing sustainable livelihood and income opportunities is laudable and worthy of emulation.

Indeed, such partnership for change and commitment to help is most welcome in President Duterte’s biyaya ng pagbabago for a better Marawi,” he said.

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