Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sabal Brothers To Address Poverty, Basic Social Services In Maguindanao's Talitay Town

Former municipal councilman Abdulwahad “Allan” Sabal, now running for vice mayor in Maguindanao's Talitay town; and his brother, Montasser “Mhon” Sabal, who is also a former municipal councilman. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Mark Navales)

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - Fighting between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and government forces had taken a toll on the social and economic condition of Talitay – an impoverished town where some 2,000 people were displaced by war remain unattended by concerned government agencies.

Local officials said the internally displaced persons still remain in evacuation centers as peace and order in their respective communities had not been normalized and basic social services are still unavailable.

Former municipal councilman Abdulwahad “Allan” Sabal said poverty is one of the contributory factors to the peace and order problem that has hampered the development of the locality.

“The lack of education among our local constituents was one of the factors that stalled our human resource development that could have spurred the economic prosperity of the area,” said Sabal, 35, who served as Sangguniang Kabataan chairman and municipal councilman from 1992 until 2003.

He explained that illiteracy has driven local people to join Moro insurgency groups as an option to attain political and economic justice.

Sabal resigned as municipal councilman in May 2003 and joined the police service. On March 4 this year, he resigned from the Philippine National Police to pursue his political bid for vice-mayor of Talitay which has a population of more than 10,000 people.

Sabal’s running mate is his brother, Montasser “Mhon” Sabal, who is also a former municipal councilman and a police officer. They are both running under the ticket of the Liberal Party.

Sabal said since the creation of Talitay town in 2000, the delivery of basic social services had not been improved, adding the administration officials did not give priority to alleviate the economic condition of their people.

He said infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads and irrigation system were lacking to boost the agricultural production of the local farmers. He added that the lack of health centers in the barangays has not been given priority as local residents had to avail medical services in Cotabato City and nearby Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

Should their slate win in the elections, they will focus on poverty alleviating programs, like educational scholarship and livelihood and the needed infrastructure for agricultural and fishery production in the area.

“We have to reduce the number of our people living below the poverty level which is pegged at 70 percent of our local population,” Sabal said. (Joseph Jubelag)

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