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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol

Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the Development Bank of the Phiippines (DBP) have agreed to launch a program which aims to establish bank branches or at the very least Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in key cities and towns of the Bangsamoro Region.

The new program which will be launched First Quarter of 2021 follows the successful installation of three ATMs in the compound of the Matling Industrial Commercial Corporation (MICC), one of Mindanao's oldest agro-industrial companies, and the towns of Malabang and Balabagan on Dec. 3.

During the inauguration of the three ATMs, I conferred with DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa and the Philippine National Police Regional Director for BARMM Brig. Gen. Samuel Rodriguez and presented the idea of linking more cities and towns in the BARMM to the banking system.

I emphasized that the program, aside from allowing people in the region access to the banking system, will actually be testaments to the success of the peace efforts of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in a region which had seen conflict for more than half a century.

The support of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines through the Western Command and the local government units will also be involved in the program.

During my initial talks with Pres. Herbosa and Gen. Rodriguez, I asked the PNP to submit a list of towns within the BARMM which are not connected to the banking system yet.

We also agreed that in remote areas of the BARMM, the ATMs will be installed in police stations, municipal halls or military camps to ensure security.

Among the first towns identified for the installation of an ATM is Pikit which belongs to North Cotabato but could serve residents of barangays which belong to the BARMM.

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