Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Goal to help Bangsamoro areas catch up with rest of PH economy discussed

The goal of helping predominantly Muslim areas in Mindanao accelerate the process of catching up with the rest of the country in terms of economic and social development will be discussed by stakeholders at the Philippines Development Forum (PDF) in Davao City.

Proposed projects and programs to improve the quality of life in Bangsamoro areas which are contained in the draft Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) will be the focus of this year’s PDF. 

The BDP, which serves as the blueprint for the development of Bangsamoro areas, was drafted by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) with assistance from other government agencies and development partners.

The BDP provides a short- and medium-term vision, strategy, and recommendations for the socio-economic recovery and development of the Bangsamoro areas during the transition years (2015 to mid-2016) and after the installation of the new Bangsamoro government (mid-2016 to 2022).

The draft BDP complements the peace accord between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and is meant to unleash the potential of Bangsamoro areas.

“As we strive to achieve the goal of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), which is inclusive growth, we realize that a significant proportion of our people, the Bangsamoros, were being left behind. These gaps resulted from decades of conflict. With the proper development strategy and with sustained peace, we can significantly improve the quality of life of the Bangsamoro people,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

“With enough support to the BDP—both financial and non-financial—we can help Bangsamoro areas develop a competitive business climate that generates investments and jobs,” BDA Executive Director Mohammad Yacob said.

Some of the projects and programs under the BDP will be funded by the national government, while others will have to be financed by official development assistance.

The projects and programs of the draft BDP fall under seven thematic areas: livelihood, infrastructure, education, social services, environment, culture & identity, security & normalization.

As a result of over four decades of armed conflict, Bangsamoro areas have lagged behind most regions of the country in terms of social and economic progress.

For instance, gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 2013 stood at only 3.6 percent compared with the national average of 7.2 percent.

Poverty incidence in 2012 was recorded at 55.8 percent in ARMM compared with the national average of 25.2 percent.

But with the improvement in the peace-and-order situation under the Aquino administration, the development agenda for the Bangsamoro areas should get the focus it deserves.

As such, the Department of Finance, which is the lead organizer of the annual PDF, deemed it prudent to focus this year’s event on Bangsamoro areas.

PDF is a venue where the government’s development plans are presented mainly before development partners—including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, Japan Bank for International Cooperation  and other bilateral institutions—to gather support.

This year’s PDF is being  held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City on November 5 – 6.

The event will be graced by President Benigno Aquino III, who will deliver the keynote. Other senior government officials, officials from the MILF and BDA, and representatives from development institutions, the academe, and the business community will also attend the event.
(Investor Relations Office/MARO PCOO)

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