MANILA - The World Bank has officially started managing the trust fund for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which will be the vehicle to receive aid from foreign institutions as well as the state to fund various development projects.
The multilateral lender led the virtual launch of the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF) Wednesday, as it undertakes the management of the fund on behalf of local officials.
The World Bank was appointed as the fund manager by the Philippine government to provide transparency on how it will be used.
World Bank Country Director Ndiame Diop said foreign institutions, like the European Union and the Australian government, have already vowed to help in the development of BARMM by contributing to the trust fund.
"A number of these international friends are already actively supporting the Normalization process. We hope that after today’s launching of the BNTF, that number will grow," he said.
After decades of conflict between government forces and former armed rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Bangsamoro Region has been largely left out of the progress experienced by the rest of the country.
"Financing and coordinating assistance for the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and development of Bangsamoro communities have good potential in contributing to peace and stability," Diop said.
Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim hailed the launch of the trust fund extending his gratefulness for fresh aid.
The BNTF is part of the Philippine government's agreement with the MILF in 2014 when the group signed a peace deal with the state which paved the way for the creation of the BARMM.
Besides getting aid from international funding partners and the national government, the trust fund can also accept donations from local private companies as long as there's no conflict of interest.
The United Nations and the Asian Development Bank are also potential funding partners, as well as the governments of Japan, the United Kingdom, and Canada.