ARMM LGUs pledge P4.2B fund for programs

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COTABATO CITY: Local government units (LGUs) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) pledged a total of P4.196 billion to fund programs for their constituents in support of the ARMM Regional Development Framework 2016-2019.

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Local officials from across the region drafted the programs, projects, services and activities (PPSA) during the 3rd ARMM Local Government Summit held from November 30 to December 1 in Davao City.

ARMM’s Interior and Local Government Secretary Noor Hafizullah Abdullah said the development framework represents the aspirations of the ARMM constituents reflecting different concerns in every province and town.

The plans will be implemented in 2018 and 2019 and will be bankrolled by development funds from each LGU addressing issues of poverty, socio-economic, security, disaster preparedness, and infrastructure.

The PPSA was aligned with the ARMM Regional Development Framework anchored on agri-fishery development under rural development; functional LGUs, improved regional government service delivery, and increased people’s participation under good governance at all levels; anti-terrorism, illegal drugs, and crimes under public order and security; health and nutrition, education, livelihood, water and sanitation, and social welfare and protection under basic services for all; disaster preparedness, response and rehabilitation and environmental protection and management under climate change adaptation, and disaster resiliency; and infrastructure support for all components.

“The framework is a key instrument for the LGUs to properly and equitably allocate development funds to ensure improvements of the welfare of communities,” Abdullah said.

Most of the development funds, he added, were concentrated on alleviating poverty in the region, being the poorest in the country.

In the first quarter of 2015, ARMM’s poverty incidence was tracked at 53.4 percent with Lanao del Sur and Sulu posting 70.2 percent and 61.8 percent poverty incidence, respectively.

During the past years, the bulk of the funds in the ARMM annual budget went to infrastructure with roughly P20 billion allocated in 2015.

ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia said the last three years were focused on infrastructures while the next three years will be devoted mainly to anti-poverty programs.

By 2019, the region’s poverty incidence is expected to be reduced by 30 percent through a convergence of government efforts.

For 2017, a total of P111.209 million development funds of LGUs across the region were allocated to four major sectors – general services, economic services, social services and environmental concerns.

The bulk of the fund will be used for economic services, or 60.12 percent, equivalent to P67 million. General services was given the least at P7 million, comprising 6.36 percent of the total allocation.

President Rodrigo Duterte who was guest speaker during the summit closing last Thursday, attended by some 500 participants, reiterated his commitment to the development of the Bangsamoro.

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