Two years ago, MP Atty. Laisa Alamia began to realize her vision of building the first Bahay Pag-asa in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), as part of her mission to address challenges that come with the absence of adequate and quality facilities that are necessary to provide care to children in conflict with the law.

With the help of the Provincial Government of Basilan and the assistance of the Ministry of Public Works as lead implementing agency, the construction of Bahay Pag-asa Phase 1 for boys Basilan is now 70% completed while groundwork for Bahay Pag-Asa Phase II for girls has already started as of this month, September 2022.

Updates regarding the said projects were sent by the District Engineering Office of Basilan roughly a week after MP Alamia’s office requested for updates last September 1.

In early meetings with the provincial government of Basilan during the first quarter of 2021, MP Alamia emphasized the importance of a child-friendly rehabilitation facility such as the Bahay Pag-asa if local government units are to effectively address “one of the biggest bottlenecks in fully implementing laws on juvenile delinquency.”

Despite initial delays due to pandemic restrictions, along with other factors such as heavy rainfall that continue to affect movement at the project site, the District Engineering Office has made a commitment to “exert more effort” to expedite the completion Bahay Pag-Asa. The report submitted by the said office also indicates they have taken measures to adapt given their working conditions, and that they “are hopeful that the project will be completed soonest.”

MP Alamia submitted the proposal to build the first Bahay Pag-asa in the region in August 2020, which was then approved by the Ministry of Finance, and Budget and Management (MFBM). It is a “24-hour child-caring institution established, funded and managed by local government units and licensed and/or accredited non-government organizations providing short-term residential care for children in conflict with the law,” and is essential to the full implementation of Republic Act 10630, a law that was passed with the intent of strengthening the Philippine juvenile justice system.

Apart from the construction of Bahay Pag-asa, 190 solar powered street lights are set to be installed in selected barangays as part of efforts to keep communities safe across Basilan. Both projects are funded through the Transitional Development Impact Fund (TDIF) allocated to the Office of MP Alamia.