Basilan lawmaker calls for review of BARMM transition period, infra projects
MANILA, Philippines — An exhaustive midterm review on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) transition period must be carried out before discussing the possibility of an extension, a Mindanao lawmaker said Friday.
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman issued the call after the BARMM requested a special audit, saying this highlights the importance of a midterm review of both BARMM and ARMM.
“Para malaman natin kung may problema nga ba sa ARMM and to identify the challenges and hurdles experienced by the transition leadership in project implementation and see where we can plug these holes and help,” he said in a statement.
“Hindi ako (I am not) against the extension. But I feel it is not wise to blindly decide to extend without looking at the very reasons for the call of extension and present concrete plans at addressing them. Kung wala tayong malinaw na (If there is no clear) roadmap, paano natin assess kung ano ang kulang at ano ang kailangan (how can we establish what is lacking and what is needed),” he explained.
Hataman earlier urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to exercise its power of congressional oversight and conduct a midterm review of the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), and the peace agreement that brought about the creation of BARMM.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority has earlier pushed for an extension of its expiration from 2022 to 2025, or three years more.
Hataman said he will file a resolution on Monday, Jan. 25, calling for a midterm review.
The review will include the observations made by BARMM Public Works Minister Eduard Uy Guerra that there were “anomalous disbursements” in ARMM infra projects.
A special audit has been requested to closely scrutinize apparently more than 3,000 ARMM projects supposedly amounting to P107 billion.
“Ang pinagtataka ko lang ay kung saan nanggaling ang P107 billion dahil sa datos ng ARMM, wala pang P50 billion ang aming infra projects mula 2012 hanggang 2018 o pitong taon,” Hataman asked.
“Let us open the books on this and see where the problem lies. Kung totoo na may erring contractors, habulin at ihabla. Kung may overpayment at mali ang ARMM, papanagutin din natin,” he added.
“My point is simple: We need this midterm review to move forward. We cannot walk a straight path if we don’t know where we are and where we are going. Ano man ang direksyong ito, kailangan nating malaman, at iyun ang objective ng midterm review,” he further said.
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