Creation of Bangsamoro region to spur economic growth – NEDA

MANILA, Philippines – The country's chief economist sees an infrastructure boom and economic growth should the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) push through.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said on Tuesday, January 22, that the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) through a plebiscite and the creation of the BARMM would open a lot of investment opportunities and improve access to basic services in the region. (RESULTS: Bangsamoro Plebiscite 2019)

"Given that the BOL provides a lot of opportunities to increase the budget for [the BARMM], we expect to see more programs and infrastructure projects in the region," Pernia said.

An estimated P70 billion for the fiscal year of 2019 alone would be provided by the national government as assistance to the region. 

On top of the assistance fund, other benefits include compensation for the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, benefits and entitlements of affected regional government employees of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, disposition of personnel and assets, initial funding to carry out requirements of the transition, and additional development programs and projects subsidized by the national government.

Pernia also said the government already lined up major infrastructure projects in the region amounting to P22.15 billion for 2019 alone and P40.85 billion from 2017 to 2022.

Should the new region materialize, the Bangsamoro Economic and Development Council would be established for the planning of all development projects of the Bangsamoro government.

A representative of the Bangsamoro government would also sit as a member of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board.

Pernia added that the new Bangsamoro government would be vested with powers over political and fiscal matters, which in turn would improve public financial management and delivery of services in the region.

"NEDA also acknowledges that the plebiscite is a historic moment for Mindanao. The agency looks forward to the success of this initiative to further this administration’s thrust of inclusive development established on a strong foundation of peace and security," Pernia said. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.