Cotabato City (August 6, 2019) – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is eyeing to strengthen its Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) by allocating 5% of its annual block grant to help fund the management’s programs.
“We are in the process of preparing the budget of the different ministries for 2020 with the anticipation of the operationalization of the block grant in the autonomous region,” Local Government Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo said during a summit on disaster resilience held August 6.
The Ministry of Local Government serves as the secretariat of the region’s new emergency and disaster response office – the Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READI-BARMM).
Sinarimbo added, “It means that the programs and priorities will now be locally generated and that the money that will fund the programs of the different ministries and offices in the Bangsamoro will be deliberated and approved by the parliament, no longer by the Congress.”
“We managed to influence the Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management of the regional government to include in the budget guidelines the allocation of setting aside at least 5% of the total block grant. That means 5% of approximately 65 billion pesos for next year will be allocated for DRRM programs in the region,” he said.
The annual block grant, provided by the central government, is the share of the Bangsamoro in the national internal revenue of the government. Its amount is equivalent to 6% of the net national internal revenue collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and of the Bureau of Customs.
Article XII, Section 20 of the R.A. 11054 otherwise known as Organic Law for the BARMM states that “the block grant shall be released, without any further action, directly and comprehensively, to the Bangsamoro Government, and which shall not be subject to any lien or holdback that may be imposed by the Central Government for whatever purpose”.
Utilization of MILF combatants
Sinarimbo also said they will create a community-based monitoring and response for disaster incidence with the help of some of the Moro Islamic Liberation Fronts former combatants.
“Because we have signed a peace agreement with the MILF and majority of their people will be undertaking the process of normalization, we will be able to utilize some of these people so that we can build a community based preparedness and response for disasters.”
He said they will re-channel the combatants’ energy and skills into new frontiers like to become emergency responders.
For instance, he said, to address the decades old flooding in the town of Datu Salibo, Maguindano, they will ask some of the combatants to help clear the water ways of around 11 bridges. “Only one of it has its water running. The other 10, the water is almost stagnant, therefore causing the flood in the roads.”
Sinarimbo said they are also working out a system for the deployment of some members of the MILF to watch over the bridges in Cotabato City – the Quirino, Matampay, and Tamontaka bridges. “We will deploy some people there, and their work is to simply ensure that the water hyacinth will not clog the bridges, which would normally cause flooding in the city.”
“The potential for maximizing the utilization of some of the MILF combatants brings instrumental benefit to many of the communities in our program for preventing disaster from happening. We hope to repeat this in some other areas where we have their forces,” he said. (###)
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