Short-term implementation crucial to success of Bangsamoro blueprint – BDA exec

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 November)—The short-term implementation of the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP), which requires a total funding of P225.6 billion, is crucial to the success of the new Bangsamoro region, a Moro development planner said on Thursday.

“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), told MindaNews at the sidelines of the special Philippines Development Forum on Bangsamoro.

The BDP implementation requires a total funding of P225.6 billion, of which P116 billion are already funded by the different agencies of the national government, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), he said.

Dipatuan said a financial gap of around P110 billion is still needed to fully fund the BDP, the blueprint for the development of the Bangsamoro “into a just, peaceful and prosperous society.”

Based on the BDP’s executive summary, it will be implemented in three phases:

Phase 1 (2015 to mid-2016) or the transitional development plan that will jumpstart the “just economy” with stabilization and pump-priming programs;

Phase 2 (mid-2016 to 2022) or the medium-term strategic interventions and investments to build a strong foundation for the Bangsamoro;

And, Phase 3 or the long-term development towards a sustained “just economy.”

Dipatuan said the financial gap of P110 billion needed to fully implement the BDP will be funded jointly by the government and donor agencies.

He said that “majority will be funded by the government but this will be determined after a pledging session with the donor agencies.”

Dipatuan said the BDP was presented to President Benigno S. Aquino III recently by the BDA, the development arm of the MILF.

“The President made sure that we discussed with the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Budget and Management and other government agencies to make sure the financial gap for the BDP will be adequately funded,” Dipatuan said.

“The Philippine government assured us that this plan will not remain a plan but will be implemented, especially for the short-term,” he added.

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.

Gone too quickly

Aquino graced the PDF for less than 20 minutes. No copy of the BDP was turned over to him for donor agencies to see.

But the President thanked those who helped make the government-MILF peace process successful. Both sides signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), their final peace agreement after 17 years of negotiations, last March, brokered by Malaysia.

The creation of the Bangsamoro region, which will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, is the key feature of the CAB.

The PDF forum provided the venue for discussion among the government, development partners and the private sector on the recently completed BDP, which was handed in to the MILF central committee last Sunday.

“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.

“Now, however, as Mindanao is becoming an increasingly stable environment, we can see that the region is on the cusp of a profound transformation: from being a Land of Promise to being a Land of Promises fulfilled,” he added.

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.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a message read by Deputy Chief of Mission Tetsuro Amano, lauded the convening of the special PDF on Bangsamoro.

“I am deeply impressed that the Comprehensive Agreement [on the Bangsamoro] and today’s forum resulted from the dialogue and trust that was cultivated at the one-on-one meeting between President Aquino and MILF chairman Murad in Narita (Japan) back in August of 2011,” Abe said.

Abe expressed hopes that Mindanawons and the rest of the people in the Philippines will enjoy “the dividends of peace.”

The Japanese government vowed to continue their support to the growth of the Bangsamoro region and Mindanao as a whole.

Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles appeared bullish with the completion of the BDP.

“We are proud of the Bangsamoro Development Plan, not only because it is born of our common embrace of peace, but because it will eventually bring joy to every corner of our land, to every family that seeks to be liberated from fear and want, and to every child who dreams of a brighter and more vibrant future,” she said.

Deles said the BDP “shall ensure that the wealth of the region, reinforced by the wealth of the entire nation, is deployed to serve the common good and welfare, and the true ends of social justice.”