March 28, 2022 (Zamboanga City) – The Western Basilan Alliance (WBA) commences its marketing tour in this city and is complemented by a workshop to develop its marketing operations guide from today, March 28 up to April 1, 2022. The participants in this joint activity include the municipal agriculturists, the office of the provincial agriculturist, provincial and municipal planning and development coordinators, provincial and municipal administrators, alliance management office staff, and officials from the BARMM Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR).


According to Sheila Marie Acquiatan, MILAB Project Coordinator, this activity was based on the earlier value chain analysis and creates a platform for new and shared livelihood opportunities among WBA local governments. Hadji Muhtamad was the proponent of fresh sea produce marketing, while Maluso proposed for marketing of dried sea products. Sumisip was interested in cassava contracting and Lantawan on root crops expansion and processing.


Prof Francis Arroyo, the marketing consultant, said, this marketing tour combines access to and first-hand interaction with the mall market, fish drier and distributor, and brokers in Zamboanga City. The workshop begins to think about organizing their operations and marketing their fresh and dried sea produce. This is about capacitating and building sustainability early on in the project cycle.


Mayor Hans Bud of Maluso and interim chair of WBA in his welcome address extols the participants to continue supporting the WBA and be active in its activities, such as the one today. He recalls the alliance-building journey from five (5) years ago, when their motivation to work together met with support from the late Fr Eliseo “Jun” Mercado Jr, OMI, lead policy advisor of the Institute of Autonomy and Governance (IAG) who visited the province and his team on a listening tour to see how meaningful and committed the local government executives in pursuing the path of alliance building. Eventually, generating the interest and support of the AECID the Spanish aid agency. 


Mayor Bud mentions how the WBA is now in its institutionalization phase, standardizing its processes, creating shared livelihood platforms such as the marketing tour this week. He also states how Maluso municipality in its latest strategic planning is aligning its effort with WBA through their peace, environment, and tourism priority.


WBA is the first inter-LGU cooperation in Basilan Province and is being capacitated by the Spanish aid agency AECID-funded MILAB 2 Project, implemented by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) in partnership with the provincial and selected municipal governments.