BTA must account for P160-B before extension — Group
”Why are they asking for an extension when they can’t account P160 billion in public funds, where are the projects?”
Transform PH Alliance (TPA), a movement for a transformed Philippines, pointed this out in a press statement distributed among the media, regarding the Bangsamoro Transition Authority’s (BTA) request for extension up to 2025.
TPA president Aio Bautista said, “All the BARMM government has are press releases announcing ribbon cuttings and plans, yet it’s been more than two years, so where are the deliverables, the finished projects?”
Bautista also disclosed that public school teachers are currently not getting their monthly salaries for several months already.
“Thousands of teachers in BARMM are not getting their salaries on time, they have to suffer waiting for three up to six months before they get to receive their salaries. We know it has been a practice in the region, but with BARMM it should change, we expect no less, and yet they’ve spent P6 billion for office supplies and materials in just one year?” he asked. “Don’t get me wrong, our group wants BARMM to succeed, but it can only be realized through transparency.”
“BTA officials and staff are getting their salaries on time, why should not BARMM teachers enjoy the same? It’s the right thing because it’s food for their tables and allowance for their kids who are studying, too. Why make them wait and beg for their salaries?” Bautista added.
Bautista said BAMM officials have a lot of explaining to do before Congress. He explained although there was a delay in the budget of BARMM in 2019, it was able to utilize the P30 billion funds remaining from the Autonomous Regional for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“The multi-billion peso allocations with a whopping total of P160.8 billion were released to BARMM in 2020 and 2021, but why up to now, there are no completed projects?” Bautista asked. “All we are getting are only press releases.”
Before the senate went on recess, 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.
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