BDA needs P136 billion for Bangsamoro Development Plan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Nov) – The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) will need some P136 billion to implement the two phases of the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) that seeks to uplift the lives of the people living in conflict areas.

BDA chairman Saffrullah M. Dipatuan told reporters during the press briefing on the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Tourism program Tuesday evening at the Grand Regal Hotel here that the BDP will be implemented in two phases once the enabling law that will create a new Bangsamoro government will be passed.

He said the BDP 1 and the BDP 2 will be centered on economic and infrastructure development in the five-province ARMM as well as in conflict-affected areas outside this region.

Dipatuan said the implementation of the BDP 1, with a proposed funding of P116 billion, was supposed to commence under the past Aquino administration but it was halted due to the Mamasapano incident last year.

“We are pushing for the Bangsamoro Development Plan with the Duterte administration to be given priority for implementation. We still believe in the BDP 1 and is still very relevant today as it represents the aspirations of whether Muslims, Lumads, or Christians,” he said.

Under the BDP 2, Dipatuan said the proposed budget of P20 billion will be invested heavily on economic, livelihood, and infrastructure development that will involve development of the connectivity in the South Central Corridor (referring to Region 11 and Region 12) and the ARMM.

He said that they are planning to allocate P5 billion for the upgrade of the Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao to make an international seaport to accommodate international shipping lines that will trigger development in the agribusiness sector in the Bangsamoro area.

The BDA was formed on June 22, 2001 by virtue of the GPH-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Tripoli Agreement on Peace as the centerpiece of “relief, rehabilitation and development aspect.”

Its tasks include, among others, determining, leading and managing relief, rehabilitation and development projects in the conflict-affected areas and to implement projects jointly with the Philippine government.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed last Monday the executive order that created the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). The BTC, whose chair will come from the MILF, will be composed of 21 members – 10 from the GPH and 11 from the MILF.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said during the opening of the two-day Philippine Development Forum at the SMX Convention Center Davao on Tuesday that there will be a separate track for the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction of chairman Nur Misuari in the peace process but they will play a role in the crafting of an enabling law.

He said that that they are separately handling the Misuari faction.

“We are separately handling the Misuari faction in another track. There is still a very deep division, in principle, between the two groups. You cannot wish that out immediately so we will have to develop an environment that they can eventually maybe better understand and accept each other. But in the meantime, we have to deal with them in two different tracks and the convergence will come when we go to Congress and submit the outputs,” he said.

The 42-consensus points, which came out during the tripartite review between GPH and the MNLF, will be considered in the new enabling law, Dureza said.

He added that they hope to submit the draft to Congress by July 2017.

“Now, they have come up with 42 consensus points, yung parang amendatory bill, to enhance the ARMM Law. They will input all of these together to amend ARMM Law, the BTC will come up with another law to replace the ARMM Law,” Dureza said.

The Muslimin Sema faction of the MNLF will get three seats as among the 10 GPH nominees, he said.

The BTC is an independent body whose task will be to consolidate all peace agreements and legislation into one enabling law on the Bangsamoro, call for an inclusive Bangsamoro Consultative Assembly to discuss the new draft of the enabling law, and submit to Congress the new version of the enabling law not later than July 27. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)