Aurora representative Edgardo “Sonny” Angara lauded the recent launch of ‘Sajahatra Bangsamoro’ program at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) compound in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

The Sajahatra Bangsamoro program of the Aquino administration is a socioeconomic initiative between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) aimed at uplifting the health, education and general welfare of the people living within MILF communities.

“Persistent poverty and slow economic development all fed the fire of conflict between the government and the MILF,” explained Angara, Chair of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.

“And now that both sides are no longer pointing guns at each other, it’s only fitting that they partner towards lifting the people’s standard of living.”

According to Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, both sides have started working on identifying the immediate needs and key beneficiaries of the program,  that will be implemented and delivered by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH), the Department of Education (DepED), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“It is only right that such peace-building efforts are broad and comprehensive in scope, involving a host the government’s agencies,” emphasized Angara of the lone district of Aurora province. “And a clear way of achieving the program’s goals is if all the parties work closely, hand in hand with each other.”

The veteran legislator then underscored that if successful, the Sajahastra Bangsamoro program will serve as a model for socioeconomic development throughout Mindanao and even the entire country.

“Collaboration, I think, will always be key in ensuring that the economic growth we are experiencing will be as inclusive as possible.”

Angara filed House Bill (HB) 250 which seeks to spur investments into Mindanao to accelerate development in the country’s second-largest island, by establishing a Mindanao Incentives Development Authority.

He also filed HB 561, calling for a Mindanao Railways Corporation that will be the main arm of the Philippine government for establishing and maintaining a railroad and transportation system across the entire island of Mindanao. (30)