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BARMM: Bright hope for Mindanao

(The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2020 - 12:00am

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) early this year came out with the region’s Administrative Code. Although long in coming, it is the first step to now start making positive directions for the development of Mindanao.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the poverty incidence among Filipino individuals in the first semester of 2018 was estimated at 21.0 percent and 16.6 percent per family. To assess the comparative miserable condition of the region of Muslim Mindanao, all regions have recorded a decline in poverty incidence among families, from 23 percent index in 2015 to 16.6 percent in 2019, except for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, according to the December 2019 NEDA report of NEDA OIC Adoracion Navarro.

Our suggestion to BARMM is that the development of the region should have the prerequisite start of launching programs on quality education and technical skills development. A recent World Bank 2018 diagnostics of the country, noted: “12.8 years of schooling in the Philippine system learns as much as a child in a high-performing system learns in 8.4 years.” That’s how far behind the country’s general educational system is. Much more can be said of the high level of skills needed by a region like BARMM, largely undeveloped but endowed with enviable enormous natural resources, including natural gas and possibly oil.

In the next two years left of the BARMM transitional government, it should spend wisely on education and skills development and economic planning as the main if not the only agenda of BARMM. All will be worth the wait when things are started right. – Marvel K. Tan, UP-CRL, Diliman, Quezon City

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