Ali G. Macabalang
Unknown to most peace and autonomy advocates, appropriations or budget allocations from the national government for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) bureaucracy are currently trickling down to the infant entity circuitously or through delay-prone fashion.
Because of the absence of a regional office of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in BARMM, funds with corresponding notices of release are momentarily coursed through the DBM office in Region XII, according to Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.
Mangudadatu filed on Dec. 1 House Bill 8117 seeking to postpone the 2022 election for the 80 regular members of the BARMM parliament, thereby extending the lifespan of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the governing body of regional autonomy, from 2022 to 2025.
Rep. Loren Legarda and Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez reportedly filed on same day similar bills meant to give the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-led transitional governance to fully accomplish its mandates under R.A. 11054 and the MILF’s 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the government.
The edict, also known Bangsamoro Basic Law or BARMM charter, and the CAB seek among others the completion in three-year time (2019-2022) the normalization track (decommissioning of the MILF’s 40,000 members) and political or governmental track (building of full blown parliamentary bureaucracy).
Both tracks are still halfway, even as Palace officials and BARMM Chief Minister Murad Ebrahim had admitted lack of time to enact ordinances needed for well-founded autonomous bureaucracy and complete the decommissioning or transformation to civilian, peaceful and productive life of MILF combat-members.
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. has confirmed that inadvertent “delays” caused mainly by the massive shift of government attention to preventive efforts against COVID-19 are main reasons in the foreseen inability of the BARMM interim governance to accomplishment its two-track key missions on or before 2022, the year supposedly set for the election of regular members of the regional parliament.
Only 12,000 of the MILF’s total members have so far been decommissioned, but the government has released only P100,000 of P1-million support package committed for each processed ex-combatant.
On the other hand, the BTA has enacted so far the regional administrative code, and is still deliberating other edicts needed to flesh out the fundamentals of better autonomous governance.
But earlier reported narratives had not mentioned about the absence of a DBM office in BARMM as another major impediment in the smooth operations of the interim autonomous government, until Rep. Mangudadatu divulged it in an interview with the Philippine Muslim Today on Nov. 23.
Mangudadatu said the national government has so far been downloading the BARMM’s yearly block grant and other budget supports from the Department of Finance through the KKoronodal City-based DBM field office in Region 12.
“Kahit na papaano ay nadedelay ng dalawa o tatlong araw ang pundo sa Region XII bago dumating sa BARMM,” Rep. Mangudadatu said.
At the Nov. 23 interview, BARMM parliament Member Khadafeh “Toy” Mangudadatu corroborated his elder sibling’s revelation, and announced that he would sponsor a bill creating a DBM office in the Bangsamoro to fill up the vacuum in the autonomous government’s interim and regular stages of operations. (AGM)