THE final draft of the law that will establish a Bangsamoro region is yet to be finished, but already the new entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has been allotted a big budget—P2.7 billion.
The funding will come from the proposed P2.606 trillion national budget for next year which was submitted by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to Congress on Wednesday.
Abad said the P2.7 billion will go to various national government agencies that will implement social services and development projects in the Bangsamoro Region.
“The P2.7 billion is for the certain phase of the preparation [of the Bangsamoro Region], particularly in the normalization phase, which includes confidence-building programs in a show of sincerity on the part of the government, as well as assisting them in other areas such as health and other welfare programs. I am sure more funding will be generated once the new Organic Act (Bangsamoro Basic Law) is enacted and the Transition Commission is organized,” Abad said in a news conference.
The Bangsamoro Region is the fruit of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was signed between the Philippine government and the former separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
For 2015, the ARMM will get P23 billion.
“The P23 billion, on the other hand, will be for the regional operations of [the existing ARMM]. So it is that amount plus the P2.7 billion which will be distributed to national government agencies for roads and bridges, Conditional Cash Transfer, Philhealth and other welfare programs,” Abad said.
The ARMM is headed by Governor Mujiv Hataman.
Budget by sector
The Social Services sector got the lion’s share of the proposed P2.606 trillion
budget with a P967 billion allocation or 37.1 percent.
The Economic Services sector, however, got the biggest increase with P700.2 billion for 2015 or P107.1 billion more than its P593 billion allocation for 2014.
The General Public Services accounted for P423.1 billion or 16.2 percent, followed by Debt Burden with P399.4 billion or 15.3 percent and Defense with P115.5 billion or 4.4 percent of the total budget.
The budget priorities, on the other hand, include Social Protection and Social Services, Enabling Environment for Inclusive Development, Job Creation and Economic Expansion and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.
The Social Protection and Social Services is broken down into P64.7 billion for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program covering 4.4 billion beneficiaries and P37.2 billion for Health Insurance for 15.5 million people.
The Enabling Environment for Inclusive Development includes the P2.7 billion Bangsamoro Basic Law budget and P7.3 million for implementation of peaceful resettlements.
The Job Creation and Economic Expansion covers P174.5 billion for Roads and Bridges program, P2 billion for the Training for Work Scholarship program under agri-fishery, tourism, semi-conductor and electronics sector and P592 million for rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport-1.
The Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation initiatives list P45.1 billion for flood control under the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways and Metro Manila Development Authority, P139 million for ensuring cleaner air and P99 million for waterways.