Gordon tells BARMM officials: Learn from Subic Bay’s transformation

By Masiding N. Yahya

MANILA — Assuring his unequivocal support to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Senator Richard J. Gordon encouraged BARMM officials to take a page out of Subic’s success book which had proven to be an outstanding formula in building a community from the ground up.

Senator Richard Gordon. (Contributed photo)

Speaking during the recent inaugural BARMM Donor’s Forum, Gordon encouraged BARMM officials to take a page out of Subic’s success book which had proven to be an outstanding formula in building a community from the ground up.

“At this point in time, we start anew. I’d like to think of this as an effort at restoring the wonderful effort at creating the Bangsamoro. We want to promote the promise of the future now, and this is a very strong indication that we can do this. It can be done,” Gordon said during the recent inaugural BARMM Donor’s Forum held last month.

“May I remind you that this is basic in developing BARMM that we must follow the rule of law, that is predictability, consistency and continuity. But, above all, the people of Bangsamoro must be part of the process of change,” he added.

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As former chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Gordon successfully rallied around 8,000 volunteers to rebuild the former Subic Bay Naval Base into the vibrant freeport, which generated over 200,000 jobs and international recognition.

He then underscored the importance of self-reliance and cooperation as essential building blocks in erecting the BARMM into a sustainable economic zone that will gain the respect of the international community.

The industries of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, which make up 35 percent of its economy, must be developed, according to Gordon, to help raise the residents’ standard of living.

One of the poorest regions in the country, Gordon provided hope for the BARMM as progress is a sure thing with reforms and credible leadership.

“Bangsamoro is an integral part of our nation. With dedication and support, the region will flourish and prosper into a thriving community,” he said.

“We’ve got the poorest in our country and that should give us time for optimism. The only way to go for Bangsamoro is to go up. And we must inform our public, our fellow citizens about that,” he added.

As principal author and sponsor of Republic Act (RA) 11593, Gordon extended the life of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority by postponing its first elections from 2022 to 2025.

Serving as volunteer-chairman of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) since 2004, Gordon has provided more than PhP900 million worth of relief and assistance to the residents of BARMM.

Among the various projects the PRC had done was the construction of 20,500 houses built for approximately 13,000 families affected by earthquakes, Typhoon Vinta, and the Marawi armed conflict.

To adequately respond to the pandemic in the area, the PRC opened a molecular laboratory in Cotabato City, which caters to thousands of residents in the area. As the country’s largest testing facility, the PRC has tested over 5,000,000 samples since April 2020.

Gordon also bared the PRC’s plans for 2022 by initiating a PRC campaign that will focus on hygiene and vaccination for over 100,000 individuals, and the continued stimulation of its local economy through conditional cash grants that will provide purchasing power for its residents. (SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES)

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