COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has officially started the deliberations of the proposed 2024 Bangsamoro Expenditure Program (BEP) on Monday, Nov. 13, at the BTA Session Hall, Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, Bangsamoro Government Center, in this city.
The proposed budget worth P98.46 billion for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was submitted to the BTA on Oct. 24 by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.
Atty. Ubaida Pacasem, Minister of Finance, Budget, and Management, explained the components of the proposed 2024 budget for BARMM.
It includes a P70.5 billion Annual Block Grant, P5.08 billion from shares in national taxes, a P5 billion Special Development Fund, P471 million from projected regional taxes, and P17.3 billion in declared savings from previous years.
The Committee of Finance and Budget Management, chaired by Member of Parliament (MP) Architect Eduard Guerra, will oversee and review the income, revenues, budget preparation, and fund appropriation for the Bangsamoro Government. This includes intergovernmental revenue sharing and all matters related to public expenditures.
To ensure a comprehensive review, 11 subcommittees have been formed to assess various ministries, offices, and agencies within the BARMM.
The first ministry to undergo deliberation on Nov. 13 was the Ministry of Indigenous and Peoples Affairs (MIPA), presenting a proposed budget of P132 million.
The budget aims to sustain and expand programs committed to protecting, promoting, and preserving the interests of indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro region.
During discussions, MIPA officials outlined key initiatives, including the promotion of indigenous customs, community leadership development, and other programs focused on the overall development of indigenous communities.
Today, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) took its turn in the deliberation session with a proposed budget of P1.8 billion.
Seeking a 24% increase from the previous year, MAFAR aims to support agricultural and fishery machinery, equipment, and facilities for the Basic Integration for Harmonized Intervention (BINHI) and Integrated and Sustainable Development for Agriculture/Capture (ISDA) programs.
MAFAR is mandated to promote sustainable agri-fishery growth, equitable land distribution, and tenurial security for landless farmers in the Bangsamoro region.
Highlighting some key budget proposals, the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) is proposing the highest budget of Php30 billion.
This includes P754 million for the construction of schools, classrooms, libraries, and the provision of furniture and fixtures for teachers.
MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal said, “The allocation reflects the region’s commitment to enhancing quality education in BARMM for inclusive growth, sustainable development, and innovation.”
Other ministries and offices with proposed budgets subject to deliberation include the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) with P17.6 billion, Ministry of Health (MOH) with P6.6 billion, and Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) with a P3.7 billion financial plan to reduce poverty and promote social cohesion.
Additionally, other ministries and offices subject to deliberations include the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM) with P3.5 billion, BTA with P3.1 billion, Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) with P2.3 billion, Ministry of Human Settlements and Development (MHSD) with P1.1 billion, and Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) with P834 million. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO with reports from BTA)