‘Alleged GPH funds for MILF old news, false’ — NCMF Chair

By on March 30, 2015


NCMF Chair Yasmin Busran Lao (OPAPP photo)
NCMF Chair Yasmin Busran Lao (OPAPP photo)

MANILA – Allegations that the government is providing the Moro Islamic Liberation Front funds through the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission is old news and have been proven to be false, the head of the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos and government peace panel member said today.

“We don’t know where critics are getting all the information that they have been announcing to the media, but we can certainly ask the implementing agencies of Sajahatra Bangsamoro and of course the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to send them the financial reports that were submitted to the Commission on Audit if they want. All they have to do is ask,” said NCMF chair Bai Yasmin Busran – Lao in reaction to a radio interview that alleged that the government is giving funds directly to the MILF through the BTC and Sajahatra Bangsamoro.

The NCMF Secretary explained that Sajahatra Bangsamoro is a program implemented by government agencies that provide services and other development projects for communities in Muslim Mindanao.

The BTC, on the other hand, is a government agency created by President Aquino that is under the Office of the President and remains subject to regular government accounting rules and COA audit.

Government peace panel member Senen Bacani said the P100-million operational expenses of the BTC, as provided in the EO during the body’s first year, are subjected to regular government accounting and auditing procedures since the body is under the Office of the President.

“In fact, we learned that the BTC even returned funds that were not used to the National Treasury. If there are doubts, the Commission on Audit is there to give us its audit report,” he said.

On the Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program, Bacani said that its main goal is to provide short-term quick impact projects to the economically-deprived communities and other targeted beneficiaries in Mindanao.

“The implementation and funding of the Sajahatra program are all under the existing budget of these government agencies such as the departments of Agriculture, Social Welfare, Health, Public Works and Highways, among others,” Bacani said.

As to the future creation and funding of the BTA, Bacani said that lawmakers can ensure transparency in its financial transactions since the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is still in their hands for scrutiny. The draft BBL provides for the creation of the BTA to oversee the transition of the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the future Bangsamoro region.