THE inauguration of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) could pave the way for progress and prosperity but socioeconomic challenges in the region must be addressed immediately, a member of cabinet said.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia at the First Bangsamoro Global Economic Summit on Monday said to spur development in the region, the national government would be providing an annual block grant — the automatic share of the BARMM government in the national internal revenue tax collections.
This is equivalent to 5 percent of the net national internal revenue tax collection or around P70 billion for the fiscal year of 2019 alone.
A special development fund worth P50 billion, or P5 billion per year for 10 years, is also allocated for the rebuilding, rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected communities.
Subsidies for development and infrastructure-related expenditure are guaranteed by the national government for the next five years.
“The ongoing transition holds promise for the region’s broad-based and sustainable development. Apart from the power and authority granted over certain sectors and activities to create its own sources of revenue and advance the region’s economic development, the increased budgetary support to the BARMM will likely result in more economic activities and socioeconomic interventions beneficial to BARMM,” Pernia said.
He said the establishment of BARMM was one of the government’s efforts to address the current social, political, economic and cultural challenges faced by the Bangsamoro people both within the current ARMM areas and nearby localities.
“Ahead of us are gargantuan yet surmountable tasks for the region to catch up, starting with the creation of the Bangsamoro Economic and Development Council, which will serve as the planning, monitoring, and coordinating agency for all development plans, programs, and projects of the Bangsamoro government,” said Pernia.
He added a representative of the BARMM government should sit as a member of a national development plan steering committee and participate in relevant planning activities of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The NEDA chief said the government was also committed to fast track the recovery of areas affected by the conflict in Marawi City.
He said the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program included programs, projects and activities to be implemented from 2018 to 2022, with total investment requirement amounting to P60.51 billion.
“While most programs will be financed through national government funds, non-government sources have also been identified. Among the biggest nongovernment projects implemented is the construction of 3,500 permanent housing units by San Miguel Corporation and UN Habitat with an estimated cost of P1.93 billion,” Pernia said.
“We assure you that the government is committed to meeting the overall goal of the Bangon Marawi. Our aim is for Marawi City and surrounding communities to co-exist in peace and become vibrant, productive, and resilient to risks of conflict and other disasters, with culture integrated into the country’s socioeconomic development,” he added.