BANGSAMORO NEEDS P500 BILLION DEVELOPMENT FUND

A P500 billion fund is needed by a long-term development plan to help ensure the success of  the Bangsamoro, the new autonomous government in Mindanao being hatched up by the Philippine government and Muslim rebels.

The Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) will fuel short, medium-term and long-term visions and strategies for the recovery and development of the Bangsamoro, the collective name of the Muslim inhabitants of the southern Philippine island troubled by violence for decades.

In a breakthrough in the search for peace in Mindanao, the Philippine government this year signed a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Moro rebel group in Mindanao.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) establishing the new Bangsamoro autonomous government is now being deliberated by Congress.

President Benigno Aquino has vowed that the  Bangsamoro government would be in place before he bows out of office in 2016.

The new autonomous government would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) created after an earlier peace deal with another Moro rebel group , the  Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by Nur Misuari.

The Bangsamoro needs about P500 billion for its long-term plans , said MILF chairman Ebrahim Murad at the Philippines Development Forum (PDF) in Davao City on November 6.

The Bangsamoro and its funding requirements were at the core of discussions at the Davao City holding of the PDF,  the primary mechanism of the Philippine Government for facilitating substantive policy dialogue among stakeholders on the country’s development agenda.

The event organized by the Department of Finance (DoF) is also designed as a process for developing consensus and in generating commitments among different stakeholders toward critical actionable areas within the Philippine Government’s reform agenda, according to the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the government agency strategising developmental initiatives in Mindanao.

The PDF gathered national and local government units, donor agencies, international financial institutions, business chambers, as well as sectoral and interest groups to map out and coordinate socio-economic development efforts and objectives for the Bangsamoro and the entire island-region of Mindanao.

The Philippine government earlier estimated that BDP would need about P100 billion that would be sourced from the General Appropriations Act and international donor agencies.

The Bangsamoro Development Plan, crafted by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) with support of the Philippine government, is a short, medium-term and long-term vision and strategy for the recovery and development of the Bangsamoro.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) vowed to assist Mindanao’s growth sectors to help boost investments and create jobs in the region. Jica said it will support the projects in the BDP.

The European Union and its Member States have also expressed its support for the Mindanao peace process “through all available means from the political level, support to mediation, practical confidence building measures at the grassroots level to financial support of the victims of the conflict.”

The EU said it will ensure its continued commitment for a smooth and inclusive transition period until the creation of the autonomous region of the Bangsamoro and the election of its government, foreseen for 2016.

The EU has provided over the last 20 years more than 10 billion peso of development assistance to Mindanao. It is the largest contributor (EU and Sweden with almost 80 percent) to the World Bank administered Mindanao Trust Fund, a multi-donors trust fund that promotes social and economic recovery in the Bangsamoro areas by building trust, confidence and partnership among Government, MILF and the communities.

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