MANILA – Senate finance committee chairman Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero said the Php24 billion allotted for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in 2015 would boost the region’s development.
”It is envisioned to respond to the needs of the community and push the much-needed development in the region,” Escudero said.
Escudero said the ARMM’s budget has increased by 24 percent compared to this year’s allocation.
As the ARMM prepares for its transition to Bangsamoro regional government, Escudero said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-ARMM) received Php10.642 billion out of its total appropriation for next year.
He said the amount will be used for construction of infrastructures like roads and bridges worth Php8.106 billion; water systems, Php765.816 million; ports, lighthouses and harbors, Php670 million; and flood control, Php561.630 million.
On the other hand, money earmarked for various ARMM programs amounted to Php12.394 billion, which will be used for the agency’s administrative operation, provision of staff support, and budget for regional departments, Legislative Assembly and the Offices of the Governor and Vice Governor.
Three ongoing ARMM projects got Php11.906 billion or 48.9 percent of the region’s total budget allocation. Appropriation for Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Synergy (HELPS) almost doubled to Php1.02 billion to finance construction of barangay halls, community learning centers and multipurpose buildings, public markets and terminals. About Php76.5 million was set aside for the implementation, monitoring and supervision of the projects.
Another project, the ARMM BRIDGE (Bangsamoro Regional Inclusive Development for Sustainable Growth with Equity), was allotted Php120 million to serve as the transition program for the Autonomous Regional Government (ARG) to prepare communities for the Bangsamoro government.
Of the Php57.4 million Capital Outlay for BRIDGE, Php50.4 million will be distributed to Tuburan, Basilan; Tagoloan, Lanao del Sur; Pandag, Maguindanao; Panglima, Sulu; and Sibutu, Tawi-tawi, each getting Php10.080 million for their Community Based Infrastructure.
However, the 2015 budget for Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (PAMANA) was substantially cut to Php655.502 million from Php2.660 billion in 2014.