Japan int’l aid agency: Bangsamoro to create .5M jobs
A plan for the socioeconomic development of the Bangsamoro region is expected to create over half a million jobs in the area by 2022 while expanding its economy faster than the entire country’s economic growth.
The Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP), spearheaded by the Bangsamoro Development Authority (BDA) and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), is expected to lift the war-torn area from poverty while bolstering economic activity in Mindanao as a whole, stakeholders said at a seminar on Friday.
“The BDP is projected to generate some 550,000 additional employment opportunities by 2022 with the economy growing at 7.4 percent per annum, once implemented fully,” according to Jica.
In comparison, the economy is growing at an average of just about 6 percent a year during the Aquino administration.
Jica-Philippines chief representative Noriaki Niwa urged stakeholders to further enhance the BDP to “help advance the vision of lasting peace and inclusive development” on the southern island.
“We hope that the measures and interventions identified in the BDP will reenergize Mindanao’s economy,” Niwa said in a statement.
The BDP proposes initiatives to improve output in the agriculture and agro-industry sectors, while upgrading airports, ports, power supply, river and flood-control structures, as well as arterial roads.
Jica’s BDP study team said: “Bangsamoro is disadvantaged by its southwestern location far from advanced regions, a decades-long conflict, and the need for capacity building (by) local government units (to provide) basic services and socio-economic infrastructure.”
A 2005 study noted that the underdevelopment of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is linked to the long history of armed conflict in the area.
According to the study, the war in Mindanao costs around P5 billion to P7.5 billion annually which could have been used to fund development projects in the ARMM.
Too much poverty
The poverty incidence in ARMM was 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.
The National Economic and Development Authority last year said that while the Bangsamoro plan was awaiting formal establishment, P225.7 billion worth of funding was needed to reduce poverty and jumpstart the economy of one of the country’s poorest regions.
Of the total amount needed by the BDA for the period 2014 to 2016, the government will allot over P111 billion from the budgets of national government agencies.
The remaining gap in funding, around P109 billion, is to come from development partners, the Department of Budget and Management said.
Last month, the private sector and multilateral lenders said they were ready to pour investments worth $366 million, or over P16.5 billion, in conflict areas despite delays in the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Passage of the BBL has been delayed by questions over its constitutionality as well as by the Jan. 25 clash with Moro rebels in Maguindanao province that led to the deaths of 44 police commandos.
Subscribe to our global nation newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.