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COTABATO CITY — As part of the celebration of the 2022 Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, the Bangsamoro Government, through the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism (MTIT) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), launched on Thursday, Dec. 15, the Agri-Trade Fair here at the City Plaza.
Exhibitors from Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Special Geographic Area (SGA), and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi participated in the fair to promote their agricultural and local products.
The Agri-Trade booths are comprised of micro, small, and medium entreprises (MSMEs) as well as local producer groups from the different BARMM provinces assisted by MAFAR.
According to MTIT Minister Abu Amri Taddik, the Agri-Trade Fair does not only promote the agricultural and other local products in the region but also hopes to strengthen the unity and camaraderie among the provinces.
BARMM and city officials at opening of Agri Trade Fair
Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua said, “the arrival of Muhammad Shariff Kabunsuan who was an Arab missionary brought along three things, such as religion (Islam), trade, and culture. Trade is very important, but it should be in line with the teachings of religion as well as the culture which determined our identity.”
One of the exhibitors, Georgina Carpio, president of Sardine Coop from Maluso, Basilan, said, “We are here to promote our products in order to identify our products. Our income will help members of our coop where most are poor. Thank you very much to BARMM for inviting us through MAFAR-Basilan.” (We are here to promote and introduce our products. What we will earn will help our coop members who are mostly poor. Thank you to BARMM for inviting us to join.)
Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was also attended by MAFAR Minister Mohammad Yacob, Cotabato City Mohammad “Bruce” Matabalao, Cotabato City Tourism Council Executive Chairperson Bai Sandra Sema, and former Tawi-Tawi congresswoman Ruby Sahali, among others.
The Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the 63 SGA villages that voted “yes” in a plebiscite in January and February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.
The BARMM population per the Philippine Atlas has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur. (Majid Nur/BIO) — (✓)