P59M to be released for Bangsamoro execs' salaries

CAGAYAN DE ORO. In a public elementary school in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur, a new Bangsamoro flag flies beneath the Philippine flag. There have been no reports yet on whether there is already an official flag for the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. (SunStar Cagayan de Oro file photo)

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is set to release around P59 million to cover the delayed salaries of 82 members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Malacañang announced Tuesday, July 1.

The decision to release millions of pesos for BTA members' salaries for July to December 2019 was made during President Rodrigo Duterte's meeting with his Cabinet at Malacañan Palace on Monday, July 1.

"The Cabinet also discussed the delay of release of BTA funds because of the reenacted budget," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

"The Department of Budget and Management would be releasing P59 million for the salary of 82 BTA members for July to December 2019," he added.

The 82-man BTA have reportedly failed to get their monthly pay since the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was established in February because of the supposed absence of an administrative code for the new region and unresolved issues concerning Civil Service Commission rules.

The BARMM was created after the January 21 and February 6 plebiscites ratified the historic Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which is anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014.

Under the BOL, the BARMM replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to allow the new region to enjoy expanded land and water jurisdiction, greater fiscal autonomy, and increased share in national government resources, among others.

The new Bangsamoro region is composed of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Marawi City, Lamitan City, Cotabato City, and 63 villages in North Cotabato.

At the same Cabinet meeting, Panelo said Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. gave the President and other Cabinet officials some updates on the implementation of the normalization program in the Bangsamoro region.

"These include updates on the BARMM, such as the appointment of leadership and heads of ministries, as well as the design of a memorandum of agreement with the Commission on Higher Education to improve access of education in BARMM, Brigada Eskwela with DepEd (Department of Education), among others," Panelo said. (SunStar Philippines)


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