DAVAO CITY – The Bangsamoro Government through Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UNFAO) and European Union (EU) through the Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA), successfully conducted the 2nd Bangsamoro International Development Partners Forum (BIDPF) held on Thursday, February 16, 2023 in this city.
A total of 75 delegates from different international development partners have attended the said forum to bolster their support to the development initiatives of the Bangsamoro government. Also in attendance were officials and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), and BARMM ministries, offices and agencies.
With the theme “Stronger partnerships for an empowered, cohesive, and progressive Bangsamoro,” said forum aimed to enhance linkages and strengthen coordination between the Bangsamoro government and international development partners, and to introduce the Bangsamoro International Development Assistance Committee (BIDAC) and Bangsamoro International Development Assistance Handbook as new mechanisms for development coordination. The BIDAC will serve as a coordination mechanism of the Bangsamoro government and international development partners towards harmonizing the implementation of foreign-assisted programs and projects in the region, while the handbook will serve as their basis for coordination, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting.
“We (Bangsamoro government) are grateful for the significant contributions and ongoing support of our international development partners of the autonomous regional government’s development efforts,” BARMM Senior Minister Abdulraof Macacua said.
He also underscored that stronger partnerships foster a more responsive government that listens and caters to the relevant needs of the Bangsamoro, underscoring the Bangsamoro government’s efforts in meeting the economic, health, education, and safety needs of the Bangsamoro.
“We are confident that this forum will serve as a gateway to discuss substantive dialogue centered on the region’s agenda,” he said.
Furthermore, BPDA Director General Engr. Mohajirin T. Ali presented the salient features of the 2nd Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) 2023-2028, revealing that the plan has 14 chapters which highlights the development thrusts and priorities of the Bangsamoro government for the next six years.
“The first four chapters lay the groundwork for the meat of this 2nd Development Plan building up to Chapters 5 to 12 providing details on the sectoral challenges, opportunities, sectoral outcomes, and strategies,” he stressed.
He also said that the ‘Communications Strategies’ has been added as the fourteenth chapter of the 2nd BDP saying “We deemed it critical to add a chapter on communication strategies,” as being compared to the 1st BDP 2020-2022 with only 13 chapters.
According to DG Ali, the strategies in the 2nd BDP are solidly aligned with the national plan, the long-term vision, Mindanao plans, President Marcos’ 8-point socioeconomic agenda, the Philippine Development Plan, and the 17 sustainable development goals.
During the forum, Amirah Pendatun, Director III of the Ministry of Finance and Budget and Management (MFBM), discussed the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFPB) guidelines on foreign grants to the BARMM.
Moreover, the BIDAC five sectoral development working groups (DWG) were formally convened to discuss matters pertaining to the state of sectors of development administration, social, economic, infrastructure, and peace, public order, safety and security in the BARMM, and possible areas of development cooperation on 2nd BDP’s sectoral development thrusts and priorities.
The Development Administration Working Group was spearheaded by Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo, Minister of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG); The Social Development Working Group was spearheaded by Lyca Therese Sarenas who represented Atty. Raissa Jajurie, Minister of the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD); The Economic Development Working Group was led by Mohammad Yacob, Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR); the Infrastructure Development Working Group was led by Architect Eduard Guerra, Minister of the Ministry of Public Works (MPW); and the Peace, Public Order, Safety and Security Working Group was spearheaded by Hussein Muñoz, Minister of the Ministry of Public Order and Safety (MPOS).
To reaffirm their commitment of support to Bangsamoro government’s development initiatives, during the said forum, Hori Khei, Project Formulation Advisor, Mindanao Section of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Achim Fock, Operations Manager for the Philippines of The World Bank; Emily Mercado, Programmer Officer of the EU; Radoslaw Rzehak, Chief of Mindanao Field Office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Dipayan Bhattacharyya, Deputy Country Director for United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP); Oscar Marenco Ruiz, Country Manager of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS); Mohamed Dansoko, Democracy and Governance Team Leader of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Thank Le, PSM, Counselor for Development of the Australian Embassy; Edwin Horca, Director for Thematic Planning and Program Design of Save The Children; Winston Alymer Camarinas, Head of Cotabato Field Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and Almudena Montoliu Garcia, Project Manager of the Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) have expressed their message of commitment to support the BARMM on behalf of all the development partners.
The forum also highlights the message coming from the BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim, where he expressed his profound gratitude to all development partners for their unwavering support since the establishment of the BARMM. He also applauded the BARMM ministries, offices, and agencies as well as the region’s government partners from DFAT and MinDA for their active participation in the said event.
“May we remind ourselves that the path to peace we took to achieve this level of autonomy cost us more than for decades,” CM Ebrahim said as he stated the Bangsamoro government’s commitment to continue working for peace and development in the region through moral governance.
Following the said forum, the BIDAC chaired by BDG Mohajirin T. Ali also convened its first meeting and attended by the interim chairs and co-chairs of the five working groups representing the five sectors from the Bangsamoro government and development partners. (Mary Lovella Lao-Lastimosa, BPDA-BARMM)