Jica: Development in Mindanao to push through sans doomed BBL
THE JAPANESE government remained committed to the peace process in Mindanao even as the much trumpeted Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has already been deemed “doomed to uncertainty,” the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said Monday.
Jica and the Bangsamoro Development Agency are about to complete the proposed Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) 2, the medium- to long-term plan that will guide development in the poor, conflict-torn region.
Jica said 26 anchor projects spanning socio-economic sectors will be rolled out to lift Bangsamoro people out of poverty by 2028. BDP 2 aims peace and development projects to be felt on the ground in just over a decade, instead of previous projections that poverty could be diminished in the region during a period as long as one generation or at least 50 years.
The poverty incidence in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which the Bangsamoro aimed to replace, was recorded at 55.8 percent in 2012—much higher than the national average of 25.2 percent and 39.1 percent for the whole of Mindanao, Philippine Statistics Authority data showed.
Once fully implemented, the BDP 2 would create about 550,000 additional jobs by 2022, while the region’s economy could grow as fast as 7.4 percent annually, the Japanese aid agency said last year.
In a seminar on BDP 2 Monday, Jica chief representative Noriaki Niwa said that even without the BBL, the agency is “committed to support peace and development in Mindanao.”
In a separate statement, Niwa said Jica “assures strong support and committed assistance” regardless of the outcome of the peace process in the region.
“Through the BDP 2, we look forward to continue working closely with the Philippine government, stakeholders, and other development partners in realizing balanced and equitable development for all the people of Mindanao,” Niwa added.
Jica said BDP 2 was expanded “to act as useful reference or guide for the future development undertaking not just in the proposed Bangsamoro area but also in other regions in Mindanao.”
The anchor projects identified by Jica and BDA were as follows: Support for agricultural cooperatives, road rehabilitation and upgrading, ports and airport improvement, Greater Cotabato City urban infrastructure, communal irrigation, economic corridor development, economic zones, as well as abaca, coco coir and sugar industrial cluster development.
Other agri-based projects include, among others, goat farming and mixed field crop production, seed production center, and halal industry promotion.
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