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This is why we build bridges. Very young seeming grade 1 pupils ride horses to cross the Ambal Simuay River in Barira Municipality, Maguindanao.

As I was inspecting yet another impact of meandering rivers that the Mayor Barok Tomawis wanted DPWH ARMM to intercede, i saw kids crossing the river. The real Lito Lapids.

If it were raining, it would have been very dangerous to cross.

Things had been changing here since Gov Mujiv Hataman had introduced rapid infra development in ARMM. What used to take 12 hours of travel now takes 20 mins. Yet, I am glad to see that more still has to be done. In fact, see the beneficiaries, like these children on horseback, is a good enough reason to work even it is fasting month and no water nor food during the entire day.

Islam requires fasting so that even the wealthy and privileged and the professionals will feel the pang of hunger that poor people feel daily. It is a social mechanism for keeping balance. When those who have more in life get to feel what those who have little in life.

The visit in Barira today was inspiring and energizing with so many good things happening in the area. Hundreds of Moros who work in the scorching sunlight amidst fasting is a sign of the new mindset and culture of development. Rising from the ashes and bomb shock of the all-out war in 2000 that had killed thousands, Barira and the Iranun communities in Maguindanao is rebuilding itself to become great communities once more.

When you see proactive LGUs at the fore front and backed up by a dynamic regional governor, you can feel the concrete impacts and surge of hope for an era of peace and development in these communities wrought by war for many decades.


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