BARMM promotes evidence-based policies against poverty
Due to equally important commitments, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al Hajj Murad” B. Ebrahim was not able to personally attend the event. Arch. Edward U. Guerra, the Minister for Budget and Finance (MFBM-BARMM) represented and delivered the message of the Chief Minister during the 2018 Report on the Regional Economy of ARMM News Conference last 25 April 2019 at Alnor Convention Center, Cotabato City.
In his speech, Minister Guerra stated that the signing of the comprehensive claim on the Bangsamoro Government and the passage of its enabling law, the Republic Act No. 11054 known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), paved the way for the Bangsamoro People to chart up their future in accordance with their distinct beliefs, culture and aspiration. This development shifts the struggle into fighting against oppression, corruption and discrimination, and other malpractices that are worsening the situation of the Bangsamoro People.
According to him, uplifting the life conditions of its constituents, regardless of crimes, groups and affiliations, is one of the highest expectations from this new government. Its fulfillment is one of those which have been sworn to. Failure to do what have been sworn to is not only frustrating the people, but worse, it would be a breach of oath that may result to new struggles. Thus, the Bangsamoro Government, by all means, should have victory instead of losing this opportunity.
PSA released a report on GRDP of ARMM, which is the total market value of the goods and services produced in the region in 2018. This is the measurement of the region’s economic performance for the period under review. The report shows that there is slow down of ARMM’s GRDP, from 7.5 percent in 2016-2017 to 7.2 percent in 2017-2018. Looking at the report further, Minister Guerra assessed that the outcome of the unbearable change is due to downwards in the sector of agriculture and industry. In the service sector, there is relative increase, but not sufficient to offset the decrease in other sectors. This information provides a reason why the region remains number one in terms of poverty incidence compared to other regions in the country, according to the latest report released by PSA. At the provincial level in the region, Lanao del Sur ranked as the poorest province in the country, followed by the province of Sulu, Basilan and Maguindanao. The poverty incidence for the province of Tawi-Tawi has also increased.
"The increase in poverty incidence is a perennial problem, but this is just actually a symptom of the real problems that really need to be fought against", Minister Guerra stated.
According to Minister Guerra, it is a public knowledge that ARMM’s economy is generally relying on agriculture and fisheries. Trade and industry, and other sectors are also contributing but still minimal. However, it is sad to note that based on records, billions worth of programs and projects designed to promote agricultural production and productivity were already implemented. In addition, huge amount of different livelihood programs and projects, as well as support in infrastructure facilities were also implemented. But sad to say, the impact is different from what was projected.
Poverty incidence is still getting worse, thus posing a great challenge to all. With this, the government needs to examine and evaluate the previous approach and proceed to correct the mistakes in policy-making, especially in implementation thereof. The government needs to replace the obsolete method to address the issues, although the change is upsetting to some estranged interests.
“Thus, I direct all ministries to have an in-depth study and find the factual causes in order to provide the real solution to poverty in BARMM. We struggle for a long time to have authority to enjoy what is right and forbid what is wrong. Hence, we will not tolerate malpractices in governance and administration, especially in the implementation of programs and projects”, Minister Guerra said.
He also added "At this very moment, the time has come to us. And if we will not do it now, what other times can we wait for? Now and now is the right time".