MANILA

Cabinet-level panel to help Bangsamoro government

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has created a committee composed of some Cabinet officials to assist the officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim MIndanao (BARMM).

This developed after Duterte met with BARMM officials at the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday, September 17.

"I formed a committee of just a few members of the Cabinet to assist them in building the structure of a BARMM government," the President said in a media interview.

The BARMM replaces the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao following the ratification of the landmark Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that is anchored on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro Government, which was inked between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014.

Under the BOL, the BARMM enjoys expanded land and water jurisdiction, greater fiscal autonomy, and increased share in national government resources, among others.

Duterte noted that the Moro officials, during the meeting, raised concerns over financial and liaison matters.

He then stressed the need for the immediate release of the new Bangsamoro's budget and appointment of new BARMM officials to spur development in the new region.

"Well, una (first thing we discussed) is the prompt remittance of their money because they have to offer it also. Just like any government office, you have to have money to buy supplies, to pay the employees, and everything. At pangalawa, 'yung (Second we talked about is the) additional officials for liaisoning," Duterte said.

Under the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, some P70.6 billion was allotted to the BARMM to help boost peace and development efforts in the region.

Of the proposed P70.6 billion budget for the BARMM, around P63.6 billion is an annual block grant, P5 billion as special development fund, and P2 billion as the region's share in national taxes. (SunStar Philippines)


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