Isabela City, Basilan -- The Provincial Government of Basilan, AECID, the Spanish Aid Agency in the Philippines, and the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) have inked partnership for Phase 2 of the “Modelling Inter-LGU Alliance in Basilan” (MILAB) Project.


In his opening statement, Basilan Governor Jim Hataman emphasized the critical role of local government in project buy-in and sustainability, that donors can come and help them, but it is ultimately their responsibility to jumpstart and continue this project within the unique context of the province. He reiterated the need for balance between coastal resources protection and community livelihood. He observed that the current push for coastal resources protection and management had resulted in community residents lamenting, “allum daying, matay aa” (fish will be well, while people will die). Thus, he encouraged the local officials present to use the Western Basilan Alliance as an opportunity to come up with a project that puts forward a balance between these two equally important concerns.


The governor’s statement was seconded by local officials present such as Mayor Hans Bud of Maluso, Mayor Nerwelyn Mansul of Hadji Muhtamad, Mayor Nurisya Ismael of Lantawan and Mayor Jul-Adnan Hataman of Sumisip.


Atty. Benny Bacani, IAG Executive Director and implementing partner of MILAB Phase 2, accepted the governor's challenge and explained the role IAG will play under Phase 2. He said the technical assistance available in this project should entrench sustainability both the planning and implementation of project activities.


Noted Moro marine scientist Prof. Dr Filemon Romero made a presentation on environmental protection and sustainable fisheries based on the good practice and lessons learned working with local government units in Tawi-Tawi. Many of the concepts and practices he presented were new and amused the participants. Participants were upbeat with his presentation because they saw opportunities for sustainable livelihood.


Updates on the operation of WBA 99.1 FM radio facility which is now headed by Mr. Zia ul Haq Basa were also presented during the activity. Mr. Basa is also serving as manager of the WBA management office housed at the Maluso Town Hall. Mr. Basa is not new to WBA as he was very much involved in its early stage when he was a member of the legislative council of Maluso.


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Western Basilan Alliance is the first interlocal cooperation in Basilan and is being capacitated by the AECID-funded MILAB 2 Project, implemented by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) in partnership with the provincial and selected municipal governments in the province.