By ALI G. MACABALANG
TARAKA, Lanao del Sur – The Development Bank of the Philippines, in partnership with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), will install this month two automated teller machine (ATM) kiosks at the commercial center of this town end age-old absence of banking facility among public and private sectors here.
This was announced in passing by MinDA Chairman Manny F. Piñol in a huddle with the Philippine Muslim Today (PMT) news and other fellow media workers at the sidelight of the leadership turnover ceremony of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade in Carmen, North Cotabato on Aug. 25.
DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa is expected to return here to grace the installation of the two ATM facilities this week or the next, according to Sec. Piñol.
Herbosa and Piñol alongside respective teams and officials of the agriculture ministry of the Bangsamoro region had converged here last Aug. 10 to kick off the operations of two of six solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) units that would boost rice production in this town.
The six SPIS units including a solar-powered waterworks system, which will convert river water to ready-to-drink fluid, have been funded under P218-million load package agreed between the DBP and the Taraka LGU represented by Mayor Nashiba Gandamra-Sumagayan, with the MinDA facilitating, in early 2020.
Herbosa accompanied by DBP Director Jeannie Sandoval and Sec. Piñol were supposed to install the ATMs on Aug. 10, but the plan did not materialize due to the delay in the shipment of the machines in the advent of the pandemic.
Taraka would become the third town in this province to avail of DBP ATM kiosks. The neighboring towns of Malabang and Balabagan in the second Congressional district were installed with such facilities early this year.
Officials and residents in the three pioneer towns had earlier asked the MinDA to facilitate with the DBP the opening of ATM kiosks to end the age-old absence of a banking system among all 39 towns in this province.
The inaugural operations of two of six SPIS units here witnessed by PhilRice Director Sailila Abdula and BARMM Agriculture Deputy Minister Amal Solaiman alongside dozens of officials from different agencies.
Sec. Pinol said all the six SPIS and waterworks systems would be fully operational by November this year to irrigate at least 700 hectares of rice farms here in a fashion designed to convert this town as Mindanao’s first agro-industrial center.
Taraka could also be the country’s first producer of packed high quality halal rice for sale to other towns in the Lanao region and elsewhere in the country and abroad, Sec. Piñol said.
On two occasions, Piñol had assured that the MinDA “will not leave its projects” here until “Taraka starts achieving an excellent agriculture production with value chain.” (AGM)