SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 27, 2009) – Provincial governor Sakur Tan said more development and infrastructure projects have been lined up for different areas in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
Tan also urged farmers and fishermen in different municipalities in the province to form themselves into cooperatives so they can avail of government loans and more support to fisheries and agricultural programs.
He said although many groups have already formed into cooperatives, there are still more opportunity for the locals to start their own and eventually become self-sustaining.
“We are strongly advocating and promoting cooperatives throughout Sulu. We want everybody to enjoy the benefits of having cooperatives and pursue a sustainable livelihood programs,” Tan told reporters.
He also encouraged local women to organize cooperatives in their localities and help in nation building. “We have equal rights in Sulu. Our women are hardworking and intelligent and they can become good leaders too, just like our hardworking Vice Governor Lady Ann Sahidulla and the others in the private and business sectors,” Tan said. "We are on our way to peace and progress and all we need is to sustain our gains."
Tan said the provincial government is also pursuing more programs and projects on agricultural, education and health, community development and people empowerment, as part of Sulu’s peace and development agenda. Infrastructure and other humanitarian projects are also continuing in Sulu, he said.
Many local farmers have also resorted to planting coffee beans from the traditional cassava because of its competitive prices and high market demands. Tan said the demand for Sulu’s Arabica and Robusta coffee beans is high because of its good quality and distinct aroma.
Aside from coffee beans, Sulu is a supplier of abaca ropes, marine products, rubber and copra. The province is also abundant in fruits such as durian and mangosteen berries, among others. (Mindanao Examiner)