BARMM is ‘better than ARMM’

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DAVAO CITY ( August 4)  —  The newly approved Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is better that the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan.

Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the Media Forum on the Bangsamoro Peace Process organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in partnership with Mindanews and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 11, Tan said the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 27, will grant the BARMM government more funds that would enable the region to chart the course of its economic development.

“Ngayon, [magkakaroon na ng] mas maraming pondo (Now, there will be more funds),” he said.

Tan noted that for years, the ARMM government has practically “begged Congress” to release funds for its operations.

The fresh resources will give the BARMM “greater fiscal autonomy,” which the ARMM government does not enjoy under the current setup.

He said under the BARMM, an annual block grant is automatically appropriated in the General Appropriation Act (GAA) to the Bangsamoro government specifically for the rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected areas.

Aside from the Block Grant, a Special Development Fund will also be provided to the BARMM government that will allow it to accelerate its economic progress.

He said together, the Block Grant and the Special Development Fund will give the Bangsamoro people “the wherewithal to move forward and achieve peace and development.”

“It will improve the present ARMM.

It will empower [the BARMM government]. It will accord [the Bangsamoro people] greater participation by the national government in terms of governance,” he said.

Tan said more importantly, the passage of the BOL is in step with President Duterte’s directive to implement all signed peace agreements, particularly the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the national government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

At the same time, Tan said the passage of the BOL will effectively counter the narrative of extremist groups that claim the national government has been remiss in providing the needs of the people.

“Kaya nagiging fertile ground ng recruitment ng terrorists — Abu sayaff, Maute — dahil yung frustration ng tao, madaling i-feed. So, kapag frustrated ang tao, madaling mahatak sa kung ano-anong illegal na activity (These becomes a fertile ground for terrorists – Abu Sayaff, Maute – to recruit. If the people are frustrated, they are easily lured into joining elicit activities.),” he said.

“This (BOL) is one effective ‘vaccine’ against terrorism,” Tan said.

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