SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. (CSFI) and the local government of Marawi City signed on Friday a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at the House of Representatives to establish an agri-business hub or bagsakan in Marawi City.
CSFI Corporate Secretary and legal counsel Anna Cristina Collantes-Garcia and Marawi City Mayor Majul U. Gandamra signed the MOA in the presence of CSFI Treasurer Margaret Duavit and Task Force Bangon Marawi Executive Assistant Mary Joy Juson.
The MOA is part of the CSFI initiative to help rehabilitate and rebuild Marawi City through Project Congressional Spouses Para Ko Mga Pababasok (Project COPA), which translates to "Congressional Spouses Supports Farmers."
Through Project COPA, the CSFI aims to provide logistical support for farmers in Marawi City affected by the crisis by building a safe, culturally sensitive, and environmentally responsible agri-business facility that is accessible to small-scale farmers in remote areas in Marawi City.
The CSFI also seeks to 1) narrow the gap between small-scale farmers and larger markets; 2) empower farmer cooperatives; 3) enable community-based solutions; and 4) make a meaningful contribution with lasting impact to the nation's collective efforts to rebuild Marawi City.
Through the MOA, CSFI commits to engage a contractor for the building of needed infrastructure and facilities to serve as bagsakan. The CSFI also agrees to procure vehicles in support of agri-business to be subsequently turned over to the end beneficiaries and provide an initial amount for petrol allowance to startup the agri-business.
Meanwhile, the local government of Marawi City agrees to provide and identify the real property where thebagsakan will be built. It will also provide assistance in acquiring the necessary permits for the establishment of the bagsakan.
In addition, the local government will screen and elect one managing cooperative to serve as the initial manager to help run the facility as well as coordinate a security plan with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for CSFI members, staff, hired contractors, and personnel while in the city.
Finally, it will converge farmers' cooperatives for information dissemination about Project COPA.
Collantes-Garcia said that Project COPA was initiated under the leadership of CSFI President Luli Arroyo, who wanted the CSFI to make a permanent impact by helping Marawi rehabilitation efforts.
"So we thought of this bagsakan center that can really help the community and it's not just a temporary thing. It's something that is long-term. And then we're groundbreaking next week, so we're really excited for it," she said.
Gandamara thanked the CSFI and stressed the positive impact of Project COPA to Marawi and its farmers.
"I would like to extend our profound thanks to the Congressional Spouses Foundation Incorporated for the support interventions they'll be giving especially to our farmer-beneficiaries. Because this is very important especially insofar as the rehabilitation efforts of the government, especially with what happened to Marawi City, is concerned. Ito po ay napakalaking tulong para sa ating mga kababayan, especially farmers. Lalo na itong nangyari sa Marawi na gusto nating manumbalik yung ating normalcy, na mag-start uli ang mga kababayan ko na maging self-sustaining. And through this support from the [CSFI], makakatulong na mapalago uli ang aming ekonomiya," he said. /Czarina Engracia/News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau/ House of Representatives of the Philippines