“In Sarangani, our overarching theme why we have been successful by God’s grace is that we adopted a tagline which is God-centered prosperity. When I say prosperity I don’t mean wealthy, I mean contentment,” he said.
“God-centered prosperity” was one of the governor’s main objectives for his third term which he mentioned in his inaugural speech on June 28, 2019.
Also, Solon introduced the different Sulong Sarangani projects which the government use to “attack the drivers that drive these extremists to move towards violent acts.”
Madaris for Peace and Madaris Tarbiyyah are two of the programs “created to make sure that the Moro communities in Sarangani get the proper teaching of Islam, the true Islam of peace” and to counter the “tailor-fit radical Islam.”
Ustadz and imams are trained and professionalized, and madrassah centers are registered in the government to assure the true teaching of Islam is taught to the children and the youth.
“We also have the IBDF or the Integrated Barangay Defense Forces,” said Solon “which are the members of the community trained to protect their communities.”
Solon said “more than 8,000 IBDF volunteers are trained” with basic law and defense, enhanced community watch, public order and safety, basic fire prevention and management, and self-defense and Intel collection in order to keep the security, peace, and order in their communities.
“You see the value of this, I guess it boils down to if we are really combating transnational crime, terrorism, drugs, it cannot be just police, army, coast guard, it needs to be the community, and we really need the community,” Solon reiterated.
Solon also pointed out Sarangani to be the first province to have a Governor’s Commission on Moro Affairs where the government provides projects “for the Moro communities to prosper.”
Also, Haggai for Peace is one program where pastors and churches are put in the upland areas of Sarangani “to teach peace and God’s love for all.”
“In Sarangani, we are different - the church and the state will work together for peace,” Solon added.
Solon believed that a lot of these poverty and recruitments are in the hinterlands, that is why one of his top priorities is to open up roads leading to remote barangays.
“We used our resources,” he said “and we partnered with the agencies in the national government like USAID and World Bank to build roads and open up the mountains. In that way, the local government units can go there everyday and deliver the services for the people.”
With the recent issues on African Swine Fever and COVID-19, Solon also acknowledged the role of the community including the IBDF volunteers, the barangay health workers, the barangay nutrition scholars, the women, and transport groups, in making Sarangani ASF-free.
“Everyone is doing, everyone is working, naka-sync tayo lahat and we are moving towards the same direction. But we cannot do it successfully if we don’t tap the community,” Solon said. (Jori Mae Samillano/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)