MAKATI CITY, March 8, 2019 – The community of finance and economics experts expressed strong support and commitment to help in the transition of the newly installed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“We look forward on working closely with the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in the next few months as we firm up FEF and Philippine Center on Islam and Democracy’s (PCID) Program of Support throughout the three-year transition period,” FEF Fellow and former Finance Secretary Gary Teves said during the Foundation for Economic Forum (FEF) Fellows Meeting held here on Wednesday.

Both organizations assembled a Core Team and met with government agencies and development partners to solicit inputs for the plan.

“From December to January, the Core Team met with fellows and expressed interest and willingness to put in time and effort to help in this endeavor,” Teves said.

In his presentation, Teves also mentioned the main areas on which they can focus their support. It is based on Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) 10 priorities in transitioning the BARMM.

These are Priorities # 2, 4, 7, and 10: Review and integrate Bangsamoro plans to make them responsive to the current needs of the region; Set up programs that will respond to the pressing social and economic challenges in the Bangsamoro; Develop policy environment on transparency, accountability, and prudent fiscal policy as well as improvement on revenue generation; and Ensure a productive partnership between the Bangsamoro Government and development partners as well as the national government to ensure complementation of programs to maximize results.

For his part, Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. called on the FEF and PCID to share their expertise and valuable recommendation for the smooth transition of the BARMM.

“I would therefore like to call on all of you who are here today to help the BTA in its challenging task of transforming the BARMM into a showcase of peace and development in Mindanao and across the country,” he said.

“You know what needs to be done in order to create a more conducive business climate in the region. Moreover, you have the influence that can turn plans into reality,” he added.

As the interim government of the BARMM, the BTA will exercise governance for three years coinciding with the President’s remaining three years in office.

During this transition period, the BTA will exercise both executive and legislative powers. It is expected to prepare and create the necessary institutions and mechanisms for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Government.

Members of the transition authority took their oath of office on February 22, 2019. On March 4, 2019, BTA Chairman Murad Ebrahim presided over the first flag-raising ceremony of the interim government.

The Fellows Meeting on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was organized by FEF in partnership with PCID. Its objective is to facilitate discussion and share insights and updates on BARMM.

Present during the meeting are PCID President Amina Rasul, FEF President Calixto Chikiamco, former World Bank Resident Representative in Manila Thomas Allen, former Prime Minister of the Philippines Cesar E.A.Virata, former National Economic, and Development Authority Director-General Romulo Neri.

Also in attendance were members of the diplomatic corps and international donor agencies, Embassy of Japan Deputy Chief of Mission Takehiro Kano, Embassy of Hungary Deputy Chief of Mission David Ambrus, Embassy of Thailand Counselor Rathanand Vichaidit, and Tatine Faylona, Conflict and Community Resilience Expert of the British Council Philippines.

Business sector representatives were also present, such as the president of Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Ernie Ordoñez, and former Chief Executive Office of Manila Water Chito Oreta. ###