House OKs P29.4-billion budget for ARMM
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - October 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives approved in plenary session yesterday the proposed P29.4-billion budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) for 2016.

The approval came after Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz of party-list group Abakada raised a few questions about statements from government peace negotiators that the ARMM had been a “failed experiment.”

Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema, an appropriations committee vice chairperson who defended the autonomous region’s outlay, said she knows from experience that ARMM “was not a failed experiment.”

“It’s just the region has numerous requirements that need to be addressed,” she said.

She said the present leadership headed by Gov. Mujiv Hataman has achieved some success in addressing the region’s needs.

President Aquino has described Hataman as a “ghostbuster” for eliminating ghost employees in ARMM like public school teachers.

In his budget message to Congress, Aquino said the government is providing some P54.5 billion next year to the autonomous Muslim region, which is composed of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.

Under his watch, he said the ARMM budget would triple from P10.4 billion in 2010, when he took over from the Arroyo administration, to P29.4 billion in 2016.

Additionally, he said national government agencies would spend P25.1 billion in socio-economic programs and projects in the autonomous Muslim region.

“Our investments since 2010 have so far made an impact in improving life expectancy, family income and other human outcomes in the violence-torn region,” he stressed.

He pointed out that the proposed allocations for the autonomous region for 2016 “should enable the future Bangsamoro Autonomous Region to establish a regime of peace, democracy and meaningful development.”

Hataman acknowledged the huge budgetary increase the area has received under President Aquino.

“The P10-billion budget ARMM had before was just enough for salaries for devolved personnel like teachers and health workers. We started spending more for infrastructure when we received annual budget increments,” he said.

In gratitude to Aquino, Hataman and other regional and local government officials have promised to support the President’s preferred successor, Manuel Roxas II, his running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, and the entire administration ticket.

“Secretary Mar will continue P-Noy’s daang matuwid. We are confident that he will support ARMM and the future Bangsamoro autonomous region,” he said.

At the same time, Hataman urged the House of Representatives and the Senate to approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“The BBL is the key to attaining peace and speeding up development in Mindanao. There is still time to pass it,” he said.

The draft law seeks to replace ARMM with a new Bangsamoro region. – With Jose Rodel Clapano

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with