COTABATO CITY – In the proposed budget of the Bangsamoro for fiscal year 2023, highest budgetary priority is allotted to education, health, and social services.
Altruistic and Balanced Education for All
“The Bangsamoro youth remains to be the hope of our region. What the youth will be, is the future of the Bangsamoro. As such we highly invest for the education of the youth,” said Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.
The chief minister said they aim to achieve ‘ABE For All’ or the ‘Altruistic and Balanced Education for All‘.
“By ‘altruistic’, we pertain to the mindset we had in developing programs, activities and projects. We planned all our programs with genuine and selfless concern for the holistic development of our learners. […] By ‘balanced education’, we mean to include provisions not just for the secular education of the youth but also for Madaris Education,” Ebrahim said.
“By having an educational system ‘for all’, we mean to ensure that our education is inclusive and available to all learners, including those from the marginalized sectors,” he added.
A total of Php27 billion is allocated for the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), including the Madaris education.
Comprising this budget is the Php1.59 billion allocation for the provision of learners and teachers’ much needed resources for learning such as learners and teachers’ kits, armchairs, and textbooks, among others.
Php1 billion is also set for the hiring of 5,190 Islamic Studies and Arabic Language (ISAL) teachers, and Php149 million for the continued employment of para-teachers to ensure the unhampered delivery of educational services in the far-flung areas of BARMM.
For MBHTE’s scholarship programs, Php235 million is appropriated for tertiary education, while Php285 for technical skills education.
Accessible and Better Healthcare Services for Everyone
“Like nurturing promising seeds, we shall all endeavor to take care of the youth so that they bloom into their full potential in the near future. It takes the whole community to raise a child. And to ensure the hopes our children embody are protected, we need to keep every member of the community healthy, strong and capable,” Ebrahim said.
“As such, for 2023, we aim to continue to provide ABE or Accessible and Better Healthcare Services for Everyone by allocating P5.7 Billion to the Ministry of Health,” he added.
Under this budget, Php831 million is earmarked to ensure that health services are continuously available at the 23 hospitals and six public health offices within the BARMM.
Php485 million is also allotted for the construction of new buildings and structures to these hospitals and health offices, and for procurement of new health and medical-related machineries and equipment and transportation equipment.
The region’s hospital assistance program dubbed AMBAG or ‘the Ayudang Medikal Mula sa Bangsamoro Government’ is allotted with Php277.85 million.
In ensuring that healthcare services are available in every community, Php85.2 is funded to the Tiyakap Kalusugan Program which will provide monthly subsidies for the operation of every Barangay Health Station and Rural Health Units.
Furthermore, Php450 million is set aside for the strategic placement and deployment of the different human resource for nurses, midwives, and doctors to the barrios.
Achieving Better Sense of Social Equity
“In many aspects of life, the Bangsamoro Government aims to provide fair chances for all. As such, by way of the passage of this proposed budget bill, those who have less in life, shall have more in law,” the chief minister said.
“For this purpose, we have provided for programs, activities and projects in various Ministries and Offices to ensure social services are made available and social protection is afforded to those who need it, especially the members of the most vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the Bangsamoro society,” Ebrahim added.
He said Php2.9 billion is appropriated for the Ministry for Social Services and Development (MSSD) to fund various programs, activities and projects intended for the poor, orphans, widows, internally displaced, elders, and all the other marginalized special sectors of society.
Through the Unlad Bangsamoro Program MSSD, which is funded with Php508 million, the ministry shall thoroughly assess the status of each family in the community and provide the necessary interventions – either in form of rice subsidy, educational assistance for their children, skills training, or livelihood seed capital.
“With the various kinds of social interventions, we aim to address the needs of the identified family beneficiaries, not just for their survival but also for the improvement of the quality of their lives,” said Ebrahim.
Php147 million is also allocated for children and youth welfare program, and Php253 million to assist older persons and persons with disabilities.
“They will be given assistive devices, healthcare packages, and financial assistance so that their welfare is guaranteed, with utmost respect to their sense of human dignity,” Ebrahim said.
According to the chief minister, a study from MSSD showed that Bajau communities are among the sectors of society that need focused government intervention. For this reason, Php67 million is allocated to support the Layag Bajau program.
On Monday, Sept. 26, Ebrahim submitted to the Bangsamoro Parliament the proposed 2023 BARMM budget amounting to a total of Php85.3 billion.
[Read related story: Ebrahim files BARMM’s P85.3-B proposed budget for 2023]. (Johanie Mae Kusain/BIO)