Group gives BARMM failing grade
“We are very disappointed with what’s happening in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), we have supported it through and through holding high hopes for our brothers and sisters in Mindanao, that this time it would be different.”
This was the statement made by Transform PH Alliance (TPA), a movement for a transformed Philippines, in a press statement released to the media.
“Despite official announcement of the regional public works or the Ministry of Public Works that BARMM would start the current year with P15 billion infrastructure projects, more than half a year later, locals are yet to see their materialization,” Aio Bautista, TPA president, cited as an example.
According to Bautista, in Maguindanao itself where the seat of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) is situated, promised infrastructure projects remain a dream.
“As simple as the construction of a town hall in Maguindanao announced in April this year to rise soon, a single hollow block is yet to be set in place even three months after its much-publicized groundbreaking ceremony,” he said.
Created by Republic Act 11054 President Duterte signed into law on July 26, 2018, BARMM is reportedly yet to deliver its promises. Despite the P160 billion in public funds poured into the region from 2020 to 2021, “the rest of the country is yet to see a completed project in BARMM.”
“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 ever since, 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.”
Bautista said they welcome the move of Sen. Imee Marcos who filed Senate Resolution No. 729, directing the Senate Committee on Finance to conduct an inquiry into the expenses on rehabilitation, development projects of conflict-affected community in the region, as “there is too little progress and change in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).”
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, 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.”
Currently, the BTA is asking Congress for a postponement of their election from 2021 to the year 2025.
Read more Global Nation stories:
Subscribe to our global nation newsletter
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.