ZAMBOANGA CITY – Aimed at discussing important issues and concerns that require appropriate actions of the Bangsamoro Economic and Development Council (BEDC), its officials and members convened here on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, for this year’s second regular meeting presided by BEDC chairperson and BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim, together with BPDA Director General Engr. Mohajirin T. Ali, MNSA, BEDC vice-chairperson and head of the technical secretariat.
During the meeting, DG Ali said that the BEDC meeting is a good platform to gather comments and solicit feedback from the local government units (LGUs) as the council regularly conducts meetings with its officials and members.
Further, DG Ali presented and discussed the Bangsamoro Development Investment Program (BDIP) of the 2nd Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) 2023-2028 which is subject to the approval and endorsement of the council to the BTA Parliament.
Accordingly, the BDIP is an accompanying document that translates the 2nd BDP into priority programs and projects, and one significant component of this document is the Annual Investment Program (AIP), with the primary objective of outlining the priority initiatives that will be implemented over the next six years through programs and projects.
“The concept of ‘Investment Program’ refers to a program for utilizing the investible portion of the budget. In the case of BARMM, this budget relates to the Block Grant,” DG Ali explained.
Following his presentation and Cotabato City Mayor “Bruce” Matabalao’s motion to adopt the BDIP, the council approved the said resolution subject to the usual budgeting process and checking of the local government units (LGUs).
Via his official Facebook page, the good mayor expressed that he is honored to be part of the BEDC, saying, “I am going home to my beloved Cotabato City more inspired to work hard PARA SA LAHAT!”
In his message, CM Ebrahim highlighted the BTA Parliament’s approval of the creation of eight (8) municipalities in the region’s Special Geographic Area (SGA) through BTA Bill Nos. 129-136 and the significant milestones achieved by the Bangsamoro Government, citing the surge of BARMM’s investment amounting to over 3.1 billion pesos in pledge.
“The regional government has been working on bringing new opportunities for the region. This is seen through the different economic developments such as the Tawi-Tawi Seaport and establishment of public markets in Basilan and Maguindanao del Sur,” he said.
CM Ebrahim also underscored that the Bangsamoro Government aims to harmonize its programs with the LGUs, specifically on the infrastructure projects, emphasizing the importance of strengthening their collaboration with the LGUs as it recognizes their pivotal role in streamlining and fast-tracking the completion of programs, projects, and activities across the BARMM.
“As far as BARMM is concerned, we are prioritizing more on infrastructure, so ‘yun ang pinaka malaking budget sa year 2023-2028, which is P594 billion,” he stressed.
Moreover, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan Sr. expressed their interest in seizing the opportunity and suggested enhancing their ports to cater to bigger ships not only from Zamboanga but also to Davao, Cebu, and Manila.
“We also take the opportunity of requesting to enhance our runways so that bigger airplanes could land at our airport. With our assurance, Mr. Chairman, na susuportahan natin ang mga programa ninyo at hindi namin sasayangin ang opportunity na ito,” Gov. Tan added.
Meanwhile, Basilan Governor Hadjiman S. Hataman-Salliman also requested the Bangsamoro government to build an airport and international seaport in their province, saying, “mag-propose kami ng international port dahil na-declare naman iyong functionality natin; pangalawa ay iyong airport natin, in fact, nag-invest na ang local government, purposely may initial implementation of the program.”
Gov. Salliman also proposed the construction of a bulk water facility to address the water supply challenges in Basilan province, establish a rubber processing plant and sardines factory to stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities, conversion of Basilan Transcentral Road into a full-fledged BARMM Regional Highway, establish the BARMM Nautical Highway to connect Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, and Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao, and strengthening the coconut industry through manufacturing initiatives.
“We are positive that our proposal will be approved, included, and funded in the development agenda of BARMM,” the governor said.
Other resolutions discussed and approved during the meeting include the following: Endorsement of the proposed 2024 budget of the National Food Authority-BARMM to National Food Authority Central Office for consideration in their 2024 budget proposal; Endorsement to NEDA-Board Regional Development Committee Mindanao Area Committee (NB-RDCOM MAC) to fast -track the BARMM Inter- and Intra-Regional Priority Projects; Requesting the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to fast-track the resumption of the detailed engineering design for the Kabulnan 2 Multi-Purpose Irrigation and Power Project; Endorsement of the Ministry of Health (MOH-BARMM) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project concept entitled “Strengthening Services in Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Improvement in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” to NEDA; Resolution providing support in communicating the 2nd BDP 2023-2028 to stakeholders/key audiences; Extension of the term of accreditation of the council’s private sector organizations from June 2022 to June 2025; and the resolution supporting the passage of House Bill No. 7651, an act institutionalizing the revitalized Pulis Sa Barangay Program of the Philippine National Police.
Said meeting was also joined by BARMM Senior Minister Abunawas L. Maslamama, BTA Floor Leader Atty. Sha Elijah B. Dumama-Alba, MFBM Minister Atty. Ubaida Pacasem, Infrastructure Development Committee (IDCom) chair and MPW Minister Arch’t. Eduard U. Guerra, Social Development Committee (SDCom) chair and MSSD Minister Atty. Raissa H. Jajurie, Peace, Public Order, Safety and Security Committee (PPOSSCom) chair and MPOS Minister Hussein P. Muñoz, MAFAR Deputy Minister Damal Sulaiman representing the Economic Development Committee (EDCom) chair and MAFAR Minister Mohammad S. Yacob, Abdulrahman Kara representing the Development Administration Committee (DACom) chair and MILG Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, and three (3) private sector representatives including Karlmarx L. Marrack, Guiamel M. Alim, and Aliah B. Adam.
Among the local chief executives in attendance were Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay, Tawi-Tawi Gov. Yshmael I. Sali, and Maguindanao del Norte Gov. Abdulraof A. Macacua, who took his oath as a new member of the council. The representatives of Maguindanao del Sur Gov. Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu, Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal A. Adiong, and Marawi City Mayor Majul U. Gandamra were also present during the meeting. (𝑀𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝐿𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑙𝑙𝑎 𝐿𝑎𝑜-𝐿𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑎/𝐵𝑃𝐷𝐴-𝐵𝐴𝑅𝑀𝑀)
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