By Ali G. Macabalang
North Cotabato’s 63 barangays (villages), which the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) absorbed after the plebiscites on January 21 and February 6, 2019, will continue to receive their regular internal revenue allotments (IRAs) from their municipal and provincial mother–units.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, BARMM spokesman, made this clarification after the national government through Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año formally turned over to the autonomous bureaucracy the supervision authority over the 63 barangays alongside this city last Dec. 15.
Sinarimbo, serving mainly as BARMM’s Interior and Local Government Minister, said he and North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Alaan Catamco had talked over the phone on Dec. 28, and the latter told him that Manila will still be coursing the IRAs of the 63 villages through the provincial government and the local government units of the mother towns.
He corroborated the governor’s explanation. He said that while the supervision authority has been delegated to the BARM bureaucracy, particularly his ministry, the matter of IRA releases for the 63 villages has yet to be properly sorted out by the Inter-Governmental Relations Body (IGRB).
The IGRB, co-chaired by Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez for the national government and Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal for the BARMM, was created by President Duterte to facilitate the devolution of powers, functions and assets of the national line agencies to their counterpart entities in the BARMM bureaucracy.
Its creation was meant to do away with past sad experiences exemplified in the incomplete devolution of national line agencies’ functions to their regional counterparts in the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Some line agencies, including the Department of Environment of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Education and the DILG, have already devolved corresponding authorities and assets to the regional government.
The national government and the BARMM bureaucracy, through the IGRB, have yet to iron out the eventual transfer of authorities and assets from other national line agencies, it was learned.
Understandably, the component barangays of this city will also continue to receive their regular IRAs through the city hall until the national and BARMM governments shall have fully ironed out the related processes.
At a media party hosted by the BARMM’s Bangsamoro Information here on Dec. 23, Sinarimbo revealed challenges facing the regional government, citing as example the “circuitous flow” of releases of funds for the autonomous entity that purportedly involves the role even of Koronadal City-based agencies in Region XII.
Sinarimbo said the IGRB has yet to straighten out the fiscal processes.
The regional parliament has a role to play and solve the issue of “circuitous flow” of funds, by passing laws creating regional counterpart agency for the Department of Budget and Management, MP Khadafeh Mangudadatu told the Philippine Muslim Today earlier. AGM