By Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas, January 22 2019; GMA News


Image Credit to Business World

The creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) will open “high growth prospects” for the area and the Philippines in general, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Tuesday.

In an emailed statement, the NEDA said the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), should it be ratified through the plebiscite held on January 21 and February 6,  would increase investments in the region.

“Given that the BOL provides a lot of opportunities to increase the budget for BAR, we expect to see more programs and infrastructure projects in the region,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

The BOL replaces the ARMM with a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region governed by the Bangsamoro Parliament elected by the Bangsamoro Region’s inhabitants.

In addition, the BOL also grants the Bangsamoro Region five percent of the net national internal revenue collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs as block grant, on top of at least P5 billion worth of Special Development Fund for the Bangsamoro Region every year for the next 10 years, starting 2019.

At least 2.8 million voters are expected to cast their votes in the plebiscite based on Comelec records.

According to NEDA, an estimated amount of P70 billion for the fiscal year of 2019 alone will be provided by the national government, as assistance to the region.

This excludes the compensation for the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, as well as the benefits and entitlements of affected ARMM regional government employees.

It also excludes the disposition of personnel and assets, and the initial funding to carry out requirements of the transition, as well as the additional development programs and projects subsidized by the National Government.

“Connectivity and social infrastructure should be the primary concern of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and the new leaders of the BAR to address pressing issues, most importantly access to basic services,” Pernia said. — BM, GMA News