MANILA: The goal of building a ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ (New Philippines) could not be realized if the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) lags behind, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Thursday.
During the 17th Meeting of the national and BARMM governments’ Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City, Marcos stressed the need to pursue ‘peace with progress.’
The ‘frank and forthright’ IGRB discussions are vital in achieving ‘genuine’ peace, stressing that the shared vision for the Bangsamoro region will only be fully realized, if there is mutual trust, Marcos said.
‘We are acting with dispatch not because of the deadlines that we have set for ourselves, but because of people battered by war for years should not be denied their destiny to live in peace,’ he said.
‘I would even venture to say that Bagong Pilipinas is incomplete without Bangsamoro rising along within it. At meron nga tayong mga bagong programa upang makami
t natin lahat ng tunay na kaunlaran at kapayapaan para sa (And we have new programs to achieve genuine peace and progress for the) Bangsamoro,’ Marcos added.
Marcos also cited various programs that could help bring further development to BARMM, including Japan’s USD6.8 million grant aid to support the region’s road construction and emergency response.
He added that the joint awarding of petroleum service contracts and coal operating contracts in BARMM will ensure energy security in the region.
He also welcomed the continuing engagements of the United Nations, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the European Union for the implementation of programs aimed at strengthening government institutions, public services, and financial administration in the Bangsamoro region.
‘Another feather in your cap is the success of the Bangsamoro Board of Investments in generating PHP3.3 billion worth of investments in the last three months of 2023 which will employ 1,927 workers,’ Marcos said.
‘And I am sure the
se are just a few entries into your thick catalog of achievements. They just highlight the things that matter most to our people, for whom we are walking the hard but high road to peace.’
Marcos also reiterated his call for a ‘peaceful and credible’ BARMM elections in May 2025, saying ‘there is only one true peace when the bloody tally of war is replaced with the scoreboard of development.’
Expressing confidence that ‘the peace has won and the war is over,’ Marcos said all Bangsamoro voters must not be ‘disenfranchised by violence, by intimidation, or by bribery.’
‘And after the elections, it will be a new chapter for BARMM. I face the future with optimism. What gives me hope is the belief that you have prepared well, you are ripe, and you are ready,’ he said.
The IGRB is composed of 20 members from the National and Bangsamoro governments led by co-chairpersons Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman and BARMM Minister Mohagher Iqbal.
It aims to coordinate and resolve intergovernmental issues between the nat
ional government and BARMM through regular consultation and negotiation.
It also addresses intergovernmental conflicts, fiscal policy, and resource allocation to support the governance and development of the Bangsamoro region.
In her speech, Pangandaman vowed to turn Mindanao ‘from a land of promise into a land of promises fulfilled.’
‘We must not forget that democracy requires solidarity. It means that as we strive for a better future for our country, we, a nation united despite religious differences, are all in this together,’ she said.
‘We support the ideals of Bagong Pilipinas that embodied the principles of excellence, innovation and progress and serve as a beacon of hope and a catalyst for transformation.’
Source: Philippines News Agency