SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao — “This is very unique,” Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed said of the Bangsamoro Development Plan, which was handed by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) Central Committee on Sunday.
Tengku said it is rare to see a revolutionary group write an economic blueprint. “This is the realization of the dreams of the late Salamat Hashim,” he said during the ceremony inside the MILF’s headquarters in Camp Darapanan.
Salamat, former vice chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) founded the MILF in the late 1970s and led the group until his death in July 13, 2003 in Lanao del Sur.
The BDP, which is an initiative of the MILF through the BDA, will provide strategic directions for the delivery and upgrade of basic services in Bangsamoro communities during and beyond the transition period.
“The BDP is a blueprint for the development of the Bangsamoro into a just, peaceful, and prosperous society. Building on the gains of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the GPH and the MILF, it aims to build the foundations of a “just economy” that will strengthen institutions; promote greater access to social services, jobs and livelihood opportunities; and foster citizen security, justice and rule of law in the Bangsamoro and its adjacent regions,” the primer read.
Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, BDA chair, said the BDP is designed as a plan “by the Bangsamoro, for the Bangsamoro.”
“It is a means by which the Bangsamoro’s dreams and right to self-determination as a people will be finally realized,” said Dipatuan.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles described the BDP as valuable tool as it is a key component in bringing peace and progress in the Bangsamoro.
“Enough times has it been said, that we cannot have peace without development and we cannot have development without peace,” Deles said before the crowd that gathered in a dimly-lit hall.
“Both are necessary components in ensuring better lives for our people. Peace and development have to be hand in hand. Perhaps in the same way that we in the national government and you the MILF also have to closely work together in the Bangsamoro,” the Secretary noted.
Deles added that the BDP is important because it gathers the collective hopes and aspirations of Bangsamoro people, government leaders, partners in the business and private sectors and CSOs into a concrete plan. “It is a vision of the Bangsamoro, by the Bangsamoro, for the Bangsamoro.”
MILF chair Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim said the BDP’s overall goal is to support these peace achievements by laying the foundation of a just, peaceful and prosperous Bangsamoro society.
“The responsibility of producing a plan that would guarantee the transformation of the deplorable conditions of our grassroots communities to a life with dignity is not an easy task,” Ebrahim said in his acceptance speech.
The MILF chief further said that the BDP envisions to provide the groundwork for a “just economy.”
Matt Stephens, officer-in-charge of the World Bank in the Philippines, said the formulation of the BDP is a bold move on the part of the MILF.
“I think through this process, we’ve seen that investment bearing fruit. Because when you started developing the BDP, it began to relationships of trust, relationships of mutual understanding with the government and with the development partners.” (MindaNews)