Aquino gives ARMM P745M more
Strife-torn Mindanao provinces will receive this year a peace dividend in the form of a P745.5-million additional budget for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Before 2012 ended, President Aquino poured money into the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (Pamana), which funds development and peace-sustaining activities in conflict areas in the ARMM.
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said the P745.5 million would be used to support the development of settlement sites in the region, the disposition of arms and forces, and the construction of roads and public infrastructure, among other things.
On Oct. 15, the Aquino administration signed a preliminary peace deal with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that should end 40 years of war in Mindanao through the creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro territory.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, however, clarified that the additional Pamana funds were intended for targeted beneficiaries in the ARMM, including, but not limited to, territories under the sphere of influence of the MILF.
Lacierda said the funds were coursed through local government units in the ARMM.
“This is in addition to the P8-billion stimulus package for the development of the ARMM,” he said.
Pamana is jointly implemented by the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Public Works and Highways, and the ARMM.
The program establishes policy reforms at the national level, delivers social services to conflict-affected communities, and links these communities to markets for job generation and for easier flow of goods and services through vital infrastructure like farm-to-market roads.
The budgetary release is part of the P32.29-billion disbursement boost for Pamana, charged against savings and windfall revenues, said Abad.
He was referring to the funds ordered released by Mr. Aquino in December 2012 creating a fiscal space for “quick-disbursing priority programs and projects” that were expected to bolster domestic economic growth in the remaining days of 2012 as well as in the first few weeks of 2013. Michael Lim Ubac