THE executive order recently issued by President Benigno Aquino 3rd extending the life of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) beyond the enactment of the proposed Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) changes nothing, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday.
Marcos, the sponsor of the BLBAR, noted that the only change EO 187 will bring is that government will continue spending for the BTC even if the work of the commission is finished.
EO 187 amended Executive Order 120 and section 5 of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) limiting the existence of the BTC to the enactment of the basic law by congress.
“It doesn’t make any difference really, except that the government is spending for them when their work is done,” Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, told The Manila Times.
The senator however gave assurances that Senate Bill 2894 contains safeguards against reckless appropriation and utilization of funds since it allows the Commission on Audit and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to review the funds given and made by the Bangsamoro government.
“The appropriations and use of funds that would be made by the Bangsamoro parliament shall be audited by the COA. Therefore, they will be held to the generally accepted practices of government accounting,” Marcos explained.
He said his bill has an ironclad safeguard against possible misuse of public funds compared to the measure submitted by Malacanang which allowed a Bangsamoro auditing body to audit the proposed Bangsamoro region.
“The language of this provision may have varying meanings to different people. To avoid misinterpretation, I have to make it clear that COA shall audit the funds,” Marcos explained.
The DBM will also review appropriations that will be made by the Bangsamoro parliament for the autonomous region.
“The rules that apply to other local governments must also apply to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and so the function of review that the DBM carries out should also be applied to it,” the senator said.