Crafting of dev’t plan for Bangsamoro starts

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 March)—Another milestone was achieved for the Mindanao peace process with the launching Wednesday of the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) here, the roadmap for short- and medium-term development strategy for Bangsamoro areas.

The BDP will identify investments and programs to promote inclusive growth, stability, and help create jobs in the Bangsamoro from 2014 until 2020.

The planning process is spearheaded by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), MILF’s development arm created under the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the Government of the Philippines-MILF Tripoli Agreement of June 22, 2001.

Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan, BDA chair, said the Bangsamoro plan will play a crucial role in the establishment and success of the Bangsamoro. He said planning for rehabilitation, recovery and development is being conducted with peace-building among the key objectives.

“Through extensive consultations, the BDP will set the strategic direction for the new Bangsamoro government by identifying potential areas for investment, private sector promotion, and cooperation with other regions in the country,” Dipatuan said.

National government oversight and line agencies and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Planning and Development Office are supporting the planning process for the formulation of the BDP, along with the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, a network of nongovernment and people’s organizations working in the Bangsamoro areas.

“The BDP, which will reflect the goals of the Bangsamoro people, the indigenous peoples, and other sectors in Mindanao, will help strengthen the Bangsamoro region to become the anchor and sanctuary of our aspirations of shared prosperity and shared security – not only in the Philippines, but in Asia and across the globe. Its inclusive character affirms this government’s commitment that no one – Muslim, Christian or Lumad – will be left behind,” Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles said in a statement.

Addressing the launching, Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) executive director, stressed the need to capture the sentiments of the communities in the drafting of the plan, making sure that the process and final output is as transparent, and more importantly as inclusive as possible.

“The plan needs to make sure no one is left behind,” he said.

“The formulation of the BDP is another historic milestone in the peace process between the two parties [government and MILF] that is directly related to the socio economic requirements of the peace process,” Montalbo said.

The planning process for the BDP is funded by a US$540,000 grant from the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) administered by the World Bank. Started in 2006, the MTF is a $28 million multi-donor facility that supports economic and social recovery and promotes inclusive and effective governance in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

Support for the BDP draws on recent new contributions to the MTF of 8 million Euros from the European Union (EU) and A$1.3 million from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Reflecting on the launch of the BDP planning process, World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said in a statement that the crafting of the Bangsamoro Development Plan will help strengthen confidence in the on-going peace process.

“This planning process demonstrates how the government and the MILF—with the support of development partners, civil society groups, private sector and other stakeholders— are working together to deliver a tangible dividend to communities from the peace process,” said Konishi.

“The plan will outline strategies to build legitimate institutions to help foster a sense of security among communities, get more children back to school, provide justice and create jobs. This is in line with global lessons on how to successfully address the roots of violent conflict,” he added.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, representing the largest funder of the MTF commented that, “With the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations, the Parties have opened the way for the areas that have been affected by over four decades of conflict to realise their tremendous potential. The Bangsamoro Development Planning process is about paving this way towards economic and social development which requires a vision and a roadmap harnessing all resources and everyone’s commitment. As a long-standing and major development and peace process partner, the European Union will continue to lend its full support to fulfil people’s long-term aspirations as well as immediate needs. This is all about reaping the benefits of peace.”

Co-chaired by the OPAPP and the BDA, the MTF program serves as a mechanism for international development partners to pool resources and coordinate support for peace and development in Mindanao.

In addition to the European Union and Australia, other development partners supporting the MTF are the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the United States Agency for International Development. (MindaNews)