P3.9b ODA for ARMM kids educ

THE national government trains its priorities on generating foreign assistance to improve the state of education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where millions of pesos in public funds for its school children’s education had reportedly gone to corruption during the past two decades.

President Benigno Aquino III, who also chairs the National Development Authority Board (NEDA) Board, said the board approved the utilization of P 3.93 billion in overseas development assistance (ODA) for a six-year funding program to improve education for ARMM children.

Earlier, ARMM Officer-In-Charge Governor Mujiv Hataman formed an anti-graft monitoring body which unearthed that “millions of pesos” in public funds were wasted to construction of schools that did not exist after all, said Assistant Secretary Darwin Rasul of the region’s Office of Special Concerns (OSC).

This time, the Department of Education in the ARMM has proposed the new funding program under Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM-ARMM) of the Australian Agency for International Aid (AusAid), said ARMM Education Secretary Jamar Kulayan.

Kulayan said Hataman, as member of the NEDA Board himself, defended the new ODA funding program for the ARMM, the third of four items approved by the board.

The other items in the NEDA Board’s approval are: Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC), P 5.69 billion; Development Objective Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America on Family Health Improved, P 8.94 billion; and Additional Financing for the World Bank-assisted Land Administration and Management Project (LAMP 2), P 2.68 billion.

Hataman said the new ODA funding program for the ARMM consisted of several projects to be implemented in six year-period, from 2012 to 2018.

He said the education support projects cost P3.93 billion, and under the NEDA-approved DepEd-ARMM proposal, AusAid would be providing a total financing assistance program amounting to P3.57 billion.

This involves the improvement of basic education in the ARMM, through engagements of key activities in different areas (covering) infrastructure, health and sanitation, technical-vocational training, and access to education.

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