Bangsamoro gov’t OK’s P75.6B budget for 2021

Robie de Guzman   •   December 24, 2020   •   491

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament announced it has approved the proposed P75.6-billion budget of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for the year 2021.

Voting 55-0, members of the parliament passed on Wednesday the BTA Bill No. 73 or An Act Appropriating Funds for the Operation of the Bangsamoro Government from January 1 to December 31, 2021, and for Other Purposes.

Following its approval in the plenary, Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim signed the bill into law as Bangsamoro Appropriations Act (BAA) 2021.

The BAA 2021 covers the proposed budgets of BARMM’s ministries, agencies, and offices, which were thoroughly scrutinized by the sub-committees of the BTA’s Committee on Finance, Budget, and Management (CFBM).

The following is the breakdown of the budget, with ₱11.2 billion allocated for Special Purpose Fund:

  • Office of the Chief Minister (OCM) – ₱10.2 billion
  • Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Management (MFBM) – ₱389.6 million
  • Ministry of Social, Services, and Development (MSSD) – ₱3.3 billion
  • Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT) – ₱323.5 million
  • Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) – ₱274.1 million
  • Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) – ₱623.2 million
  • Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) – ₱23.5 billion
  • Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs (MIPA) – ₱105.2 million
  • Ministry of Health (MOH) – ₱5.1 billion
  • Ministry of Public Works (MPW) – ₱15.7 billion
  • Ministry of Interior Local Government (MILG) – ₱1.05 billion
  • Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) – ₱553.7 million
  • Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD) – ₱811 million
  • Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) – ₱197.2 million
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reforms (MAFAR) – ₱1.5 billion
  • Ministry of Public Order and Saftety (MPOS) – ₱108.8 million
  • Office of the Wali – ₱33 million
  • Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA) – ₱85 million
  • Bangsamoro Attorney General Office (BAGO) – ₱41 million
  • Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission (BHRC) – ₱97.4 million
  • Bangsamoro Women Commission (BWC) – ₱71.6 million
  • Bangsamoro Youth Commission (BYC) – ₱76.7 million

The budget is appropriated out of the annual block grant from the national government, share in the national government taxes, fees and charges collected in the Bangsamoro territorial jurisdiction, and projected collections on regional taxes, fees and charges for the operation of the Bangsamoro government from January 1 to December 31, 2021.

Ebrahim earlier said that while the bill presents immediate response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the autonomous government’s mandate to rebuild the Bangsamoro ground up remains to be its top priority.

“Our task for the upcoming year is to create programs and policies that will simultaneously revive the economy, deliver basic services to the constituents and revisit our public health institutions,” he said.

“The Bangsamoro Organic Law remains to be at the heart of this fiscal design. We propose mechanisms that can effectively address the diverse needs of the Bangsamoro, regardless of their geographic area and/or ethno linguistic identity. This design, just like last year, continues to echo the call to inclusivity – where initiatives and programs are tailored fit with the respective realities on the ground,” Ebrahim added.

The Bangsamoro Parliament also approved a law extending the availability of the 2020 Bangsamoro appropriations to December 31, 2021.

Duterte asks BARMM officials to help gov’t deal with BIFF, terrorist groups

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appealed to leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to help the national government deal with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other terrorist groups to prevent an “all-out offensive” against the militants.

Duterte made the appeal during his meeting with BARMM officials, police and military commanders in 6th Infantry Division (6ID) at Camp Brigadier General Gonzalo Siongco in Datu Odin, Sinsuat, Maguindanao on Tuesday.

“Nagmamakaawa ako sa inyo, tulungan ninyo ako. Because otherwise, if I give the order for an all-out offensive, it will be bloody and it will be sad,” he said.

The president also asked Bangsamoro authorities to refuse terrorist groups seeking sanctuary in their communities to stop any violence and prevent him from using force.

“This cannot go on. Kung hindi ko mapigilan and there will be an all-out offensive, yan na ang problema. If I give the order, I will no longer withdraw it,” he said.

Duterte visited Maguindanao following the clash between soldiers and some BIFF members last Saturday.

Around 20 BIFF members occupied the Datu Paglas public market but state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

Duterte to visit Cotabato following BIFF attack in Maguindanao – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will head to Cotabato on Tuesday following the clash between soldiers and some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) over the weekend, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the president will meet with the officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and government security troops to discuss the incident in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.

“Siya po ay makikipag-ugnayan sa BARMM officials, sa ating kapulisan, sa ating kasundaluhan at pag-uusapan nila kung paano maiiwasan yung insidente nga nung Linggo, kung saan ilang armadong miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nag-occupy ng Datu Paglas pero sandali lang naman iyon at napaalis din sila ng hukbong sandatahan,” Roque said in an online briefing.

“Ang objective po ng Presidente, para iparating ang mensahe na hindi po niya puwedeng pabayaan ang kaniyang katungkulan na ipatupad ang batas,” he added.

On Saturday, around 20 BIFF members led by Mohiden Animbang a.k.a. Karialan occupied the Datu Paglas public market but state security forces drove them away before they could attack civilian residents.

“Dahil nga po doon sa insidente kung saan ilang miyembro ng BIFF ay panandaliang nagtungo sa Datu Paglas, ang kaniyang mensahe, ang warning niya po talaga, ipatutupad niya ang batas at hindi niya kukunsintihin ang paggamit ng dahas diyan po sa Maguindanao,” Roque said.

The military earlier said that the situation in Datu Paglas has already normalized but assured that security forces “will not rest until the threat is neutralized.”

Local officials and residents in Maguindanao were also urged to remain vigilant despite the thwarted attack of the armed group.

Terror threats in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi declined in past 2 years – WestMinCom

Robie de Guzman   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The number of terrorist threats observed in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao have significantly dropped in the last two years, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr. said.

Data from the military’s Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu showed that from July 1, 2020 to May 2, 2021, the force had 38 encounters with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and has neutralized 260 of its members; 34 of which were killed, 42 apprehended, and 184 surrendered.

In the first quarter of 2021, JTF Sulu said ASG now only have 132 of its manpower compared to its 282 and 145 members in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The military also observed a significant decrease in ASG’s firearms this year with only 147 left when it used to possess 330 weapons in 2019 and 155 in 2020.

The JTF Sulu further said that there was also no recorded terrorist acts perpetrated by the local group this year, noting that their last attack was the two explosions in Brgy. Walled City in Jolo, Sulu on August 24 last year.

According to JTF Sulu, it is its mission to conduct military operation to defeat ASG, and support the government peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in order to “significantly contribute to the peace, security, and development efforts of the Government in Sulu province.”

“Military action is only a small factor in combatting terrorism, the major factor here is the assistance (from the Bangsamoro Government),” Vinluan was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Bangsamoro government.

“We need your help to finally end the conflict in Sulu,” he added.

For his part, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ebrahim said the interim Bangsamoro Government has been put to place to assure that the people gets its well-deserved peace and sustainable development after years of conflict and unrest.

“When we signed the peace agreement with the national government, we knew that this transition period would not be an easy track. We also acknowledge that there are still splinter groups and extremist organizations that would provide challenges in the process,” Ebrahim said.

“We are fortunate that in this journey, we have our dear partners from the security sector to help us out in maintaining order. Troops whom we once faced at the other side of the fence – now working with us, side by side, one in building a Bangsamoro that we can be proud of,” he added.

Vinluan and the JTF Sulu commanders paid courtesy visit to Ebrahim and other BARMM officials on Monday, May 3, at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City.

The visit was particularly aimed at providing the BARMM government an update regarding the security situation and development challenges in the province of Sulu, a stronghold of local terrorist ASG.

 

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