Bangsamoro parliament approves ₱75.6-B BARMM budget for 2021

By Masiding N. Yahya and Julmunir I. Jannaral

COTABATO CITY

The Bangsamoro Parliament has approved on Wednesday the proposed ₱75.6-billion budget of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) for fiscal year 2021, the Bangsamoro Information Office reported.

In a statement furnished the Philippine Muslim Today, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament approved BTA Bill No. 73 entitled “An Act Appropriating Funds for the Operation of the Bangsamoro Government from January 1 to December 31, 2021, and for Other Purposes.”

Fifty-five members voted Yes, none voted No, and no abstention.

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 chief minister himself filed Bill No. 73 on November 26, 2020.

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,” said Ebrahim.

“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,” he added.

Coverage of the 2021 BARMM’s budget

BAA 2021 covers the proposed budgets of the BARMM’s different 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 ₱75.6-billion 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.

BTA Parliament’s 2021 budget

Before the passage of Bill No. 73, the BTA approved earlier that day the proposed ₱3.7-billion pesos budget for its operation.

Member of Parliament (MP) Atty. Anna Tarhata Basman, chair of Parliament’s Committee on Account and Audit, said the proposal poses an increase of ₱1.1-billion from the ₱2.6-billion budget of BTA Parliament this year because of “the approval of our improved and more robust organizational structure.”

The budget breaks down to maintenance and other operating expenses at ₱2.335 billion pesos, personnel expenses at ₱1.284 billion, and capital outlay at ₱87.781 million pesos.

Basman said the budget includes the opening of four new satellite offices in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, and Lanao del Sur. “These satellite offices will allow our Members of the Parliament to attend our plenary sessions and committee meetings outside our esteemed halls,” added Basman.

Extension of BARMM 2020 Budget

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

With the exclusion of Personnel Services, Parliament Bill No. 76 amends Section 47 of the general provisions of Bangsamoro Autonomy Act No. 03, the Bangsamoro Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2020.

Section 47 states that, “All appropriations authorized in this Act for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay authorized in this Act shall be available for release and disbursement for the purpose specified, and under the same general and special provisions applicable thereto, until December 31, 202.”

(Featured image from the Bangsamoro Information Office shows BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim signing the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Bill No. 73 into law otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Appropriations Act (BAA) 2021 that provides for a block grant of P75.6 billion.)

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