Bangsamoro Parliament OKs Php79.8-Billion 2022 BARMM Budget

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COTABATO CITY — The Bangsamoro Parliament has passed the proposed Php79.862 billion 2022 budget of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), a 6% increase from the total fund source amounting to Php75.6 billion in 2021.

By a vote of 59-0-0, members of Parliament approved the Bangsamoro Expenditure Program (BEP) for 2022 on third and final reading, an hour after the plenary passed the measure on second reading.

The BEP was certified as urgent by BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim, in effect waiving the three-day mandatory interval between the second and third reading of legislations.

BARMM Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Al-Hajj Murad’ Ebrahim. (Source: BARMM-BIO)

The 2022 budget proposal is contained in Cabinet Bill 155, entitled “An Act Appropriating Funds for the Operation of the Bangsamoro Government from January 1 to December 31, 2022 and for other purposes.”

According to Atty. Ubaida Pacasem, deputy minister of Finance, Budget, and Management, the budget would be utilized to spur recovery initiatives from the Covid-19 economic recession.

The operations budget for 2022 will cover regular activities directly addressing the ministries’ and offices’ mandates, such as purchasing goods and services for day-to-day operations; delivering public services; conducting basic governance; or providing general management and supervision of the entire Bangsamoro Government.

The top 10 ministries and offices with the highest budget allocations for next year are: the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE), Php24.7 billion; Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Php16.3 billion; Office of the Chief Minister (OCM), Php8 billion; Ministry of Health (MOH), Php4.6 billion; Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Php3 billion; Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), Php2.6 billion; Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Php1.5 billion; Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG) Php1.2 billion; Ministry of Human Settlement and Development (MSSD), Php814 million; and Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MNRE), Php642 million.

Strengthening learning environment in the new normal

The MBHTE has received the biggest chunk of the budget for the past two years, with Php24.7 billion set aside for 2022, as it works to improve the learning environment by adapting to the new normal. Its budget is 5% higher than the Php23.2 billion budget for 2021.

For Basic Education, the MBHTE continues to strive for school-based management and operations; provide MOOE for regular operation of all schools and divisions across the BARMM; provide all public school learners with health and nutrition services to allow them to reach their full educational potential and ensure the wellness of Bangsamoro education personnel; and implement and strengthen the flagship of the ministry for “No child shall be left behind”.

In the higher education sector, the education ministry will provide assistance to qualified senior high school and alternative learning system graduates.

For the technical education sector, MBHTE is pursuing a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Scholarship Program that encompasses both community- and institution-based training programs that seek to address the specific skills needs of the communities and promote employment through entrepreneurial, self-employment, and service-oriented activities.

Madaris Education has two programs for 2022: Madaris Standards and Provision, and the Madaris Asatidz Program.

To ensure uninterrupted educational services, the BARMM’s education ministry will continue to employ provisional teachers. The ministry also includes the provision of learners’ and teachers’ kits, armchairs, and learning materials.

Covid-19 response plan and improving healthcare system

The Bangsamoro government has been continuously providing response measures to the post-threats of the virus.

By prioritizing the provision of furniture and fixtures, implementing the Covid Response Plan, and achieving regional herd immunity, the health ministry intends to improve the operations of BARMM hospitals.

The ministry allocated a budget for the development of barangay health stations, medical scholarship program for medical doctors and midwives, financial assistance for barangay health workers, and construction of offices in the special geographic area.

They also set aside funds for medicine and vaccines to ensure that children and adults in the region are protected.

To increase the services of MOH to the communities, the Ministry also plans to construct field offices in BARMM’s special geographic area.

More infrastructure projects

The MPW’s centerpiece of intervention next year, the Road Network and other Public Infrastructure Facilities Program, aims to improve road connectivity and attract investors from the private sector, local government units, and other associations and cooperatives to invest in the Bangsamoro region for the processing, handling, and distribution of agricultural products, particularly in the region’s rural areas.

This project aims to construct 570.75 kilometers of road in BARMM, which will be allocated among several municipalities and provinces.

The MPW also targets the construction of 54 bridges as part of BARMM’s infrastructure to carry raw materials and finished goods and services.

The Flood Management Program entails the construction of 99 flood control and drainage systems, as well as 32 slope and shore protection measures. These investments will aid in improving flood management (flood mitigation and flood preparedness) to protect vulnerable communities and increase climate change resilience.

The MPW is also committed to strengthening the water systems in the region by providing a safe, sustainable, and sufficient water supply for drinking. The Water Supply Program targets the implementation of 139 water systems.

The Port Rehabilitation Program will help with the expansion of the region’s business and tourism industries. A total of 31 seaports will be rehabilitated or built as part of the program.

Multi-sectoral response

The Office of the Chief Minister has a budget of Php8 billion for 2022 as it continues its legacy of responding to the immediate needs of the Bangsamoro people.

The Quick Response Fund and Marawi Rehabilitation Program got the bulk of the OCM’s budget for 2022.

Among the programs and projects of the OCM are: Kapayapaan sa Pamayanan (KAPYANAN); Social Enterprise and Economic Development; Strengthening Community Governance, Peace, and Development; Water and Sanitation and Health; Tulong Alay sa Bangsamorong Nangangailangan (TABANG); Ayudang Medikal mula sa Bangsamoro Government (AMBaG), and the provision of decent housing.

The OCM also plans to implement various infrastructure projects and support the 47 non-IRA (internal revenue allotment) barangays.

Source of funds

The Bangsamoro government’s main source of revenue is the Block Grant, which is automatically appropriated in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) to the Bangsamoro (GAAB) and released immediately and comprehensively to the Bangsamoro Government.

This is equal to 5% of the net national internal revenue tax collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year.

The Special Development Fund, as stated in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) has become a source of funds for Bangsamoro development.(LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division) — (✓)

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