Sen. Imee wants finance panel to look into BARMM expenses on rehabilitation, development projects
Saying “there is too little progress and change in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),” Senator Imee Marcos has filed a resolution directing the Senate Committee on Finance to conduct an inquiry into the expenses on rehabilitation, development projects of conflict-affected community in the region.
The lady senator said the committee shall delve into the accounting and liquidation of the Appropriations and the Annual Block Grants allocated for the years 2020 and 2021 to BARMM including the annual Special Development Fund allocated for the rebuilding, rehabilitation, and development of conflict-affected communities.
It was gathered that the 80-member Bangsamoro Transition Authority, the region’s law-making body, approved the Bangsamoro Development Plan for 2020-2022.
The development goals include the establishment of foundations for inclusive, transparent, accountable, and efficient governance, to uphold peace, security, public order and safety, and respect for human rights, create a favorable enabling environment for inclusive and sustainable economic development, and promote Bangsamoro identity, cultures, and diversity.
It also seeks to ensure access to and delivery of quality services for human capital development, harness technology and innovations to increase socio-economic opportunities and improve government services, and increase strategic and climate-resilient infrastructure to support sustainable socio-economic development in the Bangsamoro Region, among others.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 729 last Monday, 24 May 2021, the lady senator said under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2020, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was allocated an annual appropriation of Php 7 billion, an Annual Block Grant of Php 63.6 billion, and a Special Development Fund of Php 5 billion.
In addition to this, under the 2021 GAA, the BARMM was also given an annual appropriation of Php 8.6 billion, an Annual Block Grant of Php 71.6 billion, and a Special Development Fund of Php 5 billion.
“Prior to the establishment of the BARMM, “the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was allocated an annual appropriation of P32.4 billion and Adjustments of P7.2 billion with Total Available Appropriations of Php 39.7 billion,” Marcos said.
“Thus, as compared to the ARMM appropriation of only Php 39.7 billion, the total BARMM allocation was higher, amounting to at least double the amount of the budget allocated to the ARMM,” Marcos said. “Despite these allocated appropriations, there is too little progress and change in the BARMM.”
“With the huge appropriations made in the GAA for 2020 and 2021, it is imperative for Congress to determine the status of the projects implemented especially since the Bangsamoro Government is still in its transition stage,” Marcos added.
“It is also important for Congress to be informed on the progress of the transition process, implementation of programs and the proper utilization of funds, as well as the reasons for delay which are not attributable to the dire effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to determine other legislative measures, if necessary, to be legislated by Congress in order to promote the long-term vision of meaningful growth in the Bangsamoro Region.”
Signed on July 26, 2018 by President Duterte into law and effective August 10, 2018, Republic Act No. 11054 (R.A. No. 11054) created the “Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (OLBARMM).”
Inauguration of the region’s government was officially made on March 29, 2019 with a mandate to “establish a political entity, that would provide for the basic structure of government in recognition of the justness and the legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people, as well as to promote the aspirations of Muslim Filipinos and all indigenous cultural communities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to further secure their identity and posterity, allowing for meaningful self-governance within the framework of the Constitution and the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”
The law further provides that the Bangsamoro Government shall enjoy fiscal autonomy with the end goal of attaining economic independence and genuine development.
Read more Global Nation stories:
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.