THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) will be assisting its counterpart agency in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in improving its capacity to assess the effectiveness of projects in the region.

“The agreement we are signing transcends a mere document. It paves the way for learning, sharing, and collaboration among M&E (monitoring and evaluation) practitioners,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan was quoted in a statement on Thursday.

“It equips our institutions with the necessary skills and experience to conduct rigorous impact evaluation studies that will directly benefit our community,” he added.

Mr. Balisacan and Bangsamoro Director General Mohajirin T. Ali signed the memorandum of agreement (MoA) on May 20. The capacity development program will run for a year and three months.

The agreement mandates that the NEDA provide the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) technical training in preparation for impact evaluations.

“The capacity development program [will focus on] on impact evaluation, a key component of the MOA, aims to augment BPDA’s ability to assess local service delivery within BARMM,” the statement read.

“The program will focus on attribution in project or program evaluation, ensuring that interventions significantly contribute to the region’s developmental goals,” it added.

The NEDA and BPDA are also working on impact evaluation studies on key BARMM programs and projects.

The MoA is backed by the NEDA and the United Nations Development Programme’s Strategic Monitoring and Evaluation Project, which seeks to ensure the effective implementation of government initiatives under the Philippine Development Plan for 2023-2028 and the Public Investment Plan at both the national and local levels.

The BARMM region was recorded to have one of the slowest growth last year at 4.3% from 6.6% a year earlier. This was far behind the National Capital Region’s 4.9% growth.

The region also has the lowest minimum wage ranging from P316 to P361, or about half of the P610 daily wage in Metro Manila.Beatriz Marie D. Cruz