Italy offers investment aid to develop Bangsamoro

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THE ITALIAN government has offered public and private assistance for the development of the Bangsamoro Region, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said.

In a social media post Wednesday, Mr. Piñol said that in a meeting with Italy’s Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano, the latter relayed Rome’s interest in supporting and funding program for the autonomous region.

The meeting was also attended by Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Giorgio Guglielmino and a delegation from the Italian finance industry.

Mr. Di Stefani said that the Italian government has $175 billion in its foreign investment portfolio from which to source investment in the Philippines.

“Among the areas of interest mentioned by Undersecretary Di Stefano were the development of the farming and fishery sectors, the financing and construction of rural road networks and the dredging of the Rio Grande de Mindanao… which could address perennial flooding in Central Mindanao,” Mr. Piñol said in his post.

The reduction in flooding is expected to make viable hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmland around Liguasan Marsh.

“We would like to be involved in the whole value chain of agriculture and fisheries. We will bring with us technology and corresponding funding coming from both the public and private sectors of Italy,” Mr. Di Stefano said.

The Italian government earlier offered to modernize the facilities of the National Food Authority (NFA) by building typhoon- and flood-resistant grain processing and storage facilities.

In May, the region secured a commitment of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to draft a 10-year agriculture master plan.

Tomorrow, the DA will join the Bangsamoro Autonomous Government Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) in a workshop to prepare MAFAR’s one-year plan, due to be completed in about two months.

Mr. Piñol recently offered to resign as Agriculture Secretary is reportedly up for a transfer to the Mindanao Development Authority. His resignation has yet to be approved by the President. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang