By Imee Charlee C. Delavin, Reporter

Bangsamoro dev’t plan has to close fund gap

Posted on November 04, 2014

THE PHILIPPINES may seek assistance from international donors and aid agencies to “bridge the gap in funding” a development plan for the proposed autonomous region for ethnic Moros in Mindanao.

Members of the National Youth Commission and Young Moro Professionals participate in “Kites for Peace” in March, marking the historic signing of the Bangsamoro agreement. -- OPAPP
Although several programs under the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) have already been bankrolled by the GAA (General Appropriations Act), a funding gap still remains, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal said in a phone interview.

“That is the consequence of the development plan presentation in Davao. That we’ll be able to bridge the gap in the funding,” Mr. Iqbal added.

However, no pledges have yet been made “but that’s the purpose of the launch” of the BDP in Davao, said Mr. Iqbal, who, together with other government officials, signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in March this year.

The BDP will be presented to the public and international agencies like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) during the Philippine Development forum in Davao City on Nov. 5 to 6. The event will be attended by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III, who will also deliver a speech.

The Bangsamoro Development Plan, which details the blueprint of the government’s rehabilitation and recovery initiatives for areas to be included in the new Bangsamoro region, was presented to the President last Thursday and submitted to the MILF central committee on Sunday, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Q. Deles said in a text message.

The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), tasked to come up with the development plan, requires P110 billion to implement its short and midterm programs which covers the economy, infrastructure, education and agriculture development. The plan will also provide “equitable access to jobs and livelihood, and establish rule of law, security and stability.”

The six-year development plan is an initiative of the MILF through the BDA which was supported by government peace panel and development partners. Guided by the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its Annexes, the plan will provide strategic directions for the delivery and upgrade of basic services in Bangsamoro communities during and beyond the transition period.

Donor agencies -- including consultants from the World Bank, United Nations and JICA -- provided technical and financial support to the BDP formulation which seeks to address “thematic areas” of the economy, social, environmental and natural resources, politics, security, culture and identity, and the cross-cutting themes of gender and development, peace-building and youth.

In its Web site, the BDA said the programs under the BDP “are meant to smoothen the transition from the ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) to the Bangsamoro Transition Agency, to the New Bangsamoro Government in the short term and lay the solid foundations for a just, lasting peace and prosperous Bangsamoro for the mid and long term.

The BDA noted that to date, residents of the proposed Bangsamoro region hold the highest incidence of poverty, with nearly a million falling within working age. Many are also unemployed, 75% of which are women. In the region 63% of its population depend on small-scale agriculture, and only 0.5% of farm-to-market roads are paved, and irrigated areas only cover 25.8%.