By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star | 01/05/2013 8:30 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has approved the release of P745.5 million to support continuing development and peace-sustaining activities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The funds will specifically finance the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) program in the region, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said.
Abad said the release complements the progress attained by the government at facilitating security and development in the region. “Through these funds, we can help ensure that impoverished families in the region will receive critical goods and services that were, in the past, compromised by regular armed conflict,” Abad said.
PAMANA is a project jointly implemented by ARMM, the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines (DND-AFP) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Specific projects to be funded by the P745.5-million release include support development in settlement sites in the region, the disposition of arms and forces and the construction of strategic roads and public infrastructure.
Furthermore, Abad said the program establishes policy reforms at the national level and paves the way for the delivery of social services to conflict-affected communities.
Projects under the program also aim to help communities gain access to markets for their goods through farm-to-market roads.
The Budget chief said ARMM communities would benefit from the program as it moves toward lasting peace and stability.
“The Pamana is one of the key ways through which we are able to address socio-economic issues that have long plagued the region. Not only will ARMM communities benefit from the reform and economic successes posted under this Administration; they can also make a gradual transition towards enduring peace and stability,” Abad said.
Last October, the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a landmark peace deal, paving the way for long-term development in the region.
Mindanao has lagged behind in terms of economic growth and education because of decades-old conflict among various groups.