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          Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia (PNA File Photo)

          MANILA -- The country’s chief economist expects the increased budgetary support to newly established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will likely result in more economic activities, which will benefit the people in the region.

          During the First Bangsamoro Global Economic Summit on Monday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the national government will provide an annual block grant, which is the automatic share of the Bangsamoro government in the national internal revenue tax collections.

          He said the allocation is equivalent to 5 percent of the net national internal revenue tax collection, or around PHP70 billion for the fiscal year of 2019 alone.

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          Pernia, also Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), noted that the increased budgetary support to the BARMM is in addition to the power and authority granted over certain sectors and activities to create its own sources of revenue and advance the region’s economic development.

          To address the challenges that the BARMM is facing and other pressing socio-economic needs of the region, Pernia said the BARMM government has crafted its 12-point priority agenda for the transition period of 2020-2022.

          “These can be considered as development opportunities for investments in this critical juncture of the Bangsamoro transition process. Areas for possible longer-term partnerships and cooperation with the private sector may be identified after various development plans are integrated and harmonized,” he added.

          The NEDA chief cited the recovery of areas affected by the conflict in Marawi on top of the BARMM’s agenda.

          Pernia said the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program laid out the government’s strategic interventions for the rehabilitation of Marawi City and municipalities directly affected by the conflict.

          It includes programs, projects, and activities to be implemented from 2018 to 2022, with total investment requirement amounting to PHP60.51 billion, he noted.

          He added that while most programs will be financed through national government funds, non-government sources have also been identified.

          Pernia considered the establishment of BARMM as one of the initiatives the government has to take to address the current social, political, economic, and cultural challenges faced by the Bangsamoro people both within the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) areas and other nearby localities.

          “All our eyes are now on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The region has so much potential to be unlocked and we are excited to see all our combined efforts come to fruition,” he added. (PNA)

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