Gov’t to plant seeds of dev’t in Bangsamoro areas
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED)– The government will allocate more funds to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to complement the newly-signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
In a statement issued after the signing of the CAB on Thursday, March 27, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the historic agreement will finally allow Bangsamoro communities to experience the socio-economic development that had eluded them in the decades of armed conflict in the Southern Philippines.
"We're set on creating a National Budget that is even more responsive to the needs of communities in the ARMM. This way, we can ensure that the progress we're making will benefit the Bangsamoro in a sure and sustainable way,” Abad said.
The budget chief described the signing of the CAB as a “remarkable story of success for the Filipino people.”
“Lasting peace has long been elusive in Bangsamoro communities, and armed conflict has frequently undermined the region's potential for growth. The peace agreement between the government and the Bangsamoro will shape the country's strategy for ensuring lasting peace, as well as improve socio-economic development in the ARMM,” he said.
Abad said through the CAB and increased government funds, “Bangsamoro communities will finally gain wider access to key social and economic services, including public education, health care, and infrastructure development in the region.”
He said sustained peace would transform the area into a hub for tourism, investment and commercial activity, and will further improve investor confidence in the Philippines.
Abad said in a text message to Rappler on Friday, March 28, that the operating budget of the ARMM "will not substantially increase" but that there would be an expected increase in investments in the Transition Investment Support Plan (TISP) and the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program.
"These will be mainly socio-economic development programs," Abad said.
In 2012, the national government launched the TISP for the ARMM to serve as a roadmap for governance reforms in the region. It is funded out of the savings of various government agencies.
The Sajahatra Program is a joint undertaking of the government and the MILF seeking to develop health, education and livelihood conditions in Bangsamoro communities.
UK hails CAB
Various foreign governments and international organizations have hailed the CAB and pledged to support its successful implementation.
The United Kingdom joined the rest of the world in hailing the historic agreement.
In his congratulatory message to the Philippine government, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said, “The UK wholeheartedly supports the agreement. Its full implementation will bring great benefits for Mindanao and the Philippines.”
“It will also be an inspiring example of how political leadership and democracy can rise above violence and division to provide the security and prosperity that all people want and deserve. While many challenges lie ahead, I celebrate this important milestone along with friends of the Philippines around the world,” he said.
The United Kingdom has been involved in the peace negotiations as a member of the International Contact Group (ICG) supporting the talks.
The World Bank had earlier said it would “continue to scale up efforts to support programs that will broker sustainable peace and development in the Bangsamoro and Mindanao as a whole.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was in Manila to witness the historic event, had also renewed his government’s commitment to assist in developing Bangsamoro communities for as long as needed. –Rappler.com