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ARMM seeks decisive role in handling ODA funds

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An official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is pushing for a more decisive role in the management of foreign-funded projects implemented in the region as prescribed under existing laws.

Ali G. Macabalang of the Bureau of Public Information disclosed that ARMM Executive Secretary Naguib Sinarimbo pressed for the observance of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9054 or the ARMM Organic Law, and Executive Order 125-A, Series of 2002, that stipulate that official development assistance (ODA) provided to the area of autonomy should be placed under the management of the regional government.

Sinarimbo renewed the assertion in a meeting recently with Renaud Meyer, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) representative to the Philippines, who shared such advocacy.

Sinarimbo said the ARMM government is oftentimes maligned due to perceptions that it fails to make significant improvement on the distressing condition of the region despite all the foreign donations that are being poured into it.

He clarified that the autonomous government does not exercise a decisive control over some of the ODAs that get into the region.

Sinarimbo also expressed concern over hiring of non-ARMM people in handling foreign-assisted projects being implemented in the ARMM as well as the establishment of project management office outside the region.

He said foreign-assisted projects should be able to capacitate the right institution and the right people as what is intended of it.

The only foreign-funded program that is directly managed by the regional government, he said, is the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP), which has been consistently rated as “satisfactory” by the World Bank (WB) in their evaluations.

Meyer visited the region last week and presented the concept of a new UNDP program to be carried out in the ARMM and other areas in Mindanao under the latest UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the country that would run for five years starting next year.

Meyer said, unlike before, UN agencies in the country will be implementing a single action plan in pursuit of the new UNDAF, which will focus on three major areas – delivery of social services, governance issues, and strengthening the resiliency of the country on issues such as disaster risk reduction, climate change, and natural resources management. (AGM/RVC-PIA9 BaSulTa)




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