No budget yet for Bangsamoro Organic Law implementation, says econ managers

Photo shows young girls running up to the Masjid Dimaukom mosque – more popularly known as the “Pink Mosque” – in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. PHOTO BY RAFFY LERMA

MANILA –The budget for the implementation of the recently-signed Bangsamoro Organic Law, which will create a new Bangsamoro region is not yet included in the 2019 proposed national budget, according to economic managers.

During the briefing by the Development Budget Coordination Committee, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked if the proposed budget for next year took into consideration the new law. Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III shook his head.

“Obviously the budget you presented today does not take into account the financial implications of the formation of the Bangsamoro government. Secretary Dominguez is shaking his head so for the record the proposed 2019 budget does not include the projected budget for the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Budget undersecretary Janet Abuel confirmed the information.

“Indeed, it is not yet incorporated in the 2019 proposed budget,” she said.

She added they would just reallocate the budget allocation for the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“We have a proposed budget for the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] which amounts to P32.2 billion and we can be able to reallocate that considering the complications for the requirements under the BOL,” she said.

Drilon then asked about the block grant which would be given to the Bangsamoro region, under the law.

“The BOL provides for a block grant. It is five percent of the total national taxes from Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs three years prior. So for 2019, I assume it is the national taxes since 2016,” he asked.

Dominguez said they do not have the exact amount but he estimated it to be around P60 billion.

The senator again asked if the P32.2 billion for ARMM will be adjusted to P60 billion but Dominguez said he is not sure if that is possible at the time. He said he has to check with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

“We have to check with Secretary Diokno. We have to ask Ben what he plans to do,” he said.

Abuel, representing Diokno who came from a prior appointment, said they will have to study the matter first.

“What we intend to do is study and try to adjust within the amount because we need to reallocate. What we have now is insufficient to  cover the estimated amount of the block grant,” she said.

President Rodrigo Duterte led Monday the ceremonial signing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law. (GMA News)


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