BY APIPA P. BAGUMBARAN
MARAWI CITY–The Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Wednesday, June 8, to strengthen their commitment and cooperation toward accelerating socio-economic growth and promoting business opportunities, integration, and development in the Bangsamoro region.
BPDA Director-General Engr. Mohajirin Ali said this signals the beginning of a stronger partnership and closer collaboration between the BPDA and MinDA towards more robust participation among the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Mindanao Peace and Development (MIPAD), and other inter-regional development initiatives in Mindanao.
“This significant milestone comes at a critical juncture, particularly for the Bangsamoro Government which is navigating a delicate transition while pursuing socio-economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“It is, therefore, a distinct privilege for us (BPDA) to partner with MinDA in coordinating and integrating development efforts means to accelerate socio-economic development in Mindanao,” he added.
He underscored that said initiative will also advance strategic engagement for long-term peace and development in Mindanao as a whole.
“With this historic event, I look forward to the successful implementation of our MOC and I fervently hope that this partnership will prosper in achieving our common goals and objectives,” Ali further said.
Also present at the event was BARMM Cabinet Secretary Mohd Asnin Pendatun, who represented Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.
“The strategic cooperation in which the BARMM operates not only serves as a gateway for the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) but it also a gateway for further development. We all know that the success of BARMM is a success of Mindanao,” Pendatun stressed.
On the other hand, MinDA Chair Secretary Maria Belen Acosta mentioned that the Bangsamoro region has always been an important focus area of MinDA’s development initiatives as it plays a strategic, historical, and cultural value in the Philippines’ commitment and participation under the BIMP-EAGA, and sub-regional cooperation.
“The rest of the world would be able to witness the Mindanao beauty and bounty that have been long overshadowed by stories and narratives of poverty and conflict,” Acosta said.
Acosta believes that this collaboration will make BARMM an economic powerhouse and a strategic EAGA player in Mindanao.
“As we collectively work together to sustain the gains of peace, we will not cease in pushing for a BARMM and Mindanao that is resilient, peaceful, progressive, and globally competitive,” she said.
The historic signing of MOC was witnessed by Minister Abu Amri Taddik of the Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT), Minister Dickson Hermoso of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Director Engr. Ismael Guiamel of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), MinDA Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, BPDA Deputy Director-General Engr. Amil Abubakar, and other key officials from BPDA and MinDa. (BIO/PIA Lanao del Sur)