Group seeks 100% transparency on BARMM P160-B budget
A GOOD GOVERNANCE advocate has assailed the “questionable” combined total budget of more than P160.8 billion for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) covering the years 2020 and 2021.The 2020 annual budget for BARMM was P75.6 billion which was eventually increased to P85.2 billion for 2021.
Jhannah Vilegas, Mindanao director of Malayang Lipunan Movement (MLM), noted that as gleaned from the budget, substantial amount is under the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) that includes but not limited to Supplies and Materials.
“We demand absolute transparency on where all these moneys went if we want the BARMM to succeed and not go the same way as the failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),” Villegas stated.
“For instance, prudent dictates that with a P6 billion budget for supplies for a year is highly questionable, unconscionable, extravagant and highly immoral,” Villegas said.
Records show that in 2020, the total Supplies and Materials of BARMM Government was P2,717,741,060 and it ballooned to more than P6 billion for 2021, around 120.20% increase.
The MLM director said it is worth noting that the BARMM Government is still in the process of recruitment such that, various field offices in the five (5) provinces are still not in its full capacity.
“It is a blunder that you have a huge budget for supplies and materials and no personnel are doing administrative or clerical works. Still, the amount is very huge and mind-boggling,” Villegas stressed.
Earlier, Sen. Imee Marcos filed Senate Resolution No. 729 on May 24 2021, directing the Senate Committee on Finance to conduct an inquiry into the expenses on rehabilitation, development projects of conflict-affected community in the region, saying “there is too little progress and change in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).”
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 P7 billion, an Annual Block Grant of P63.6 billion, and a Special Development Fund of P5 billion.
In addition to this, under the 2021 GAA, the BARMM was also given an annual appropriation of P8.6 billion, an Annual Block Grant of P71.6 billion, and a Special Development Fund of P5 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 P39.7 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.
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.