NEDA sees 12.8% growth in region if BBL is passed

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The passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law will give the poverty-stricken Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and its nearby areas the highest economic growth rate in the southern Philippines in 2016, the National Economic Development Authority has said.
NEDA’s projections showed said the creation of the Bangsamoro entity will attract more business investors to the region and boost the region’s economy by 9.7 percent in 2015 and 12.8 percent in 2016.

“The Bangsamoro Development Plan 2015-2022 is expected to push the regional economy to achieve double-digit growth rates in the first five years of the creation of the Bangsamoro,” the NEDA said.

It also expected the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) per capita rising in the range of P38,000 to P40,000 from the current P29,608.

“This will further narrow the regional disparities between the Bangsamoro and the rest of Mindanao regions,” the government’s economic planning agency said.

NEDA’s study went against the claim of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. that the government failed to study the impact of its proposed BBL on business and economy.

NEDA Regional Office 11 Director Maria Lourdes Lim said the regional economic growth will also reduce the poverty incidence rate in the Bangsamoro to anywhere from 50 to 52 percent by 2016.

Apart from the six municipalities of Lanao del Norte, Article II Section 2 of the proposed BBL states that the Bangsamoro core territory will be composed of the following areas:

– the present areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM);
– the cities of Cotabato and Isabela;
– the barangays in the municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigcawayan, Pikit and Midsayap in the province of (North) Cotabato, that voted for the incldusion in the ARMM at the 2001 plebiscite;
– all other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least 10 percent of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the BBL.

High growth from low base

Economics professor Solita “Winnie” Monsod, for her part, said NEDA’s forecast growth for the Bangsamoro region is “acceptable.”
“It’s because the rating comes from such a low base so it’s very possible. Mababa ang growth ng ARMM and when there is peace and stability, this growth is possible so yes, for me, that 12.8 percent growth is acceptable,” she said.
“The growth will start with the BBL because the framework means that peace is sustainable. Kung walang framework, walang law and order at makakaapekto ito sa paglago ng isang lugar. Kung walang BBL, nasa wait and see attitude lang tayo,” she added.

Growth dependent on peace, not BBL

Marcos, the chairman of the Senate committee deliberating on the BBL, said that the economic growth does not rely solely on the proposed Bangsamoro law but on achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.

“It (projected growth) assumes total cessation of fighting and a perfect implementation of a development plan,” Marcos told GMA News Online when sought for comment.

“That is the best case projection. Economic growth is totally dependent on peace,” the senator added.

Marcos had earlier junked the Malacanang-drafted BBL and said he is considering amending the Organic Act for the ARMM as his substitute bill.

According to NEDA, economic growth drivers in the Bangsamoro region will be the sectors of agriculture, aquaculture, fishery and forestry, which presently makes up two-thirds of ARMM’s GRDP.

NEDA’s projections merely aspirational

House Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao called the NEDA projection as “merely aspirational,” pointing out that “it will take an extended period of time before the growth is achieved, if at all.”

“The BBL economy would be pump-primed initially by massive funding from the national government and it may take time, I think, before the economy of the Bangsamoro homeland takes off,” Aggabao said in a text message.

The proposed Bangsamoro government under the BBL stands to receive at least P70 billion during its first fiscal year alone.

Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, whose committee in the House of Representatives earlier approved the tax provisions in the BBL, said a “stable environment” will boost growth in the envisioned Bangsamoro region.

“The growth of the region is exponentially proportional to the establishment of peace and order. Despite lawlessness, the region still manages to produce anything. What more if a stable environment is established?” he said.



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