The government will have to set aside or look for additional funding amounting to P109.6 billion to ensure the success of the new Bangsamoro region that will be created following the submission of the draft basic law in Philippine Congress.
“The short-term implementation is crucial because this is where we are managing the high expectations of the people in the communities,” Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, chair of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) said during the Philippine Development Forum held at the SMX Convention C enter in Davao City.
The additional funding requirement is on top of the P116 billion already appropriated for the different agencies under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Dipatuan said.
The proposed Bangsamoro Development Program, he added, has already been submitted to President Benigno Aquino III.
The bulk of the funding will go to short and medium term programs that are designed to jumpstart and pump-prime the Bangsamoro ‘economy’ and in “strategic interventions and investments to build a strong foundation for the new region.
Dipatuan however also said that “majority will be funded by the government but this will be determined after a pledging session with the donor agencies.”
“The Philippine government assured us that this plan will not remain a plan but will be implemented, especially for the short-term,” he said.
Dipatuan stressed there is a need for a sustained support from the government for the long-term.
“Alam nila pag hindi nasustain, wala din (They know that if it won’t be sustained, nothing will happen),” he said.
Meanwhile, Aquino briefly graced the Philippine Development Forum held in Davao City where the BDP was to be presented to him. The president however thanked those who helped make the government-MILF peace process successful.
The Philippine government and the MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), ending more than 4 decades of internecine war in predominantly Muslim areas in Mindanao.
The creation of the Bangsamoro region, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is the key feature of the CAB..
“The value of lasting peace for a region like Mindanao ‘is beyond measure.’ For years, our countrymen in areas affected by conflict had been shackled by violence, injustice, and impunity; they were deprived of opportunities to succeed; and prosperity was seemingly reserved only for a few,” Aquino said.
Aquino called on foreign development partners to help the government in the rehabilitation and recovery of Mindanao.
MILF chair Al Haj Murad and other senior leaders of the MILF attended the forum, as well as representatives from the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, United Nations Development Programme, United States Agency for International Development, the European Union and other donor agencies.