Bangsamoro needs P225.7B to grow economy
MANILA, Philippines–While the Bangsamoro entity awaits its formal establishment by 2016, P225.7 billion worth of funding is needed to reduce poverty among residents as well as grow the economy of one of the country’s poorest regions.
Of the total amount needed by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) for 2014 to 2016, the government will allot over P111 billion from the budgets of national government agencies such as the departments of agriculture, health, interior and local government, public works and highways, and social welfare and development, as well as the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Development Forum in Davao City Thursday.
The remaining funding gap of P109 billion, meanwhile, is being pitched to development partners to secure official development assistance, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a separate interview.
Part of the funding gap could also be sourced from loans.
Abad noted that the areas to be included in Bangsamoro had an economy that is “way, way below standard.”
In this regard, a huge amount is necessary to generate employment as well as revenue, especially for the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who had fought for the establishment of the Bangsamoro entity, Abad said.
Abad said the bulk of investments for Bangsamoro must go to projects and programs in the areas of social protection and social services.
Among the proposed projects for Bangsamoro are cash subsidies to poor households, improvement of basic, technical and tertiary education, as well as public health initiatives, Abad said.
Also to be put in place are basic infrastructure “to make poverty reduction more meaningful,” he added.
In the next three years, the government would likely increase its block grants to ARMM until it becomes Bangsamoro, according to Abad.
From the annual subsidy worth P17 billion to ARMM since 2010, the block grant to the region will be jacked up to P25 billion starting next year and will be further increased by a tenth annually in the succeeding years, Abad disclosed.
Bangsamoro will be developed in such a way that its economy will eventually become self-sufficient while improving people’s lives, Abad said.
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