Education, health, infra top priorities in BARMM’s P83.5-B 2023 budget
COTABATO CITY — The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is prioritizing education, infrastructure and health in its proposed P83.5 billion budget next year, which entered second reading at the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament here last Thursday, Sept. 28.
Parliament Bill No. 54, which proposed the BARMM budget for next year, represented a 4.6 per cent increase from the autonomous region’s P79.8 billion budget this year.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim personally turned over the proposed budget to BTA Speaker Pangalian Balindong for the start of the budget deliberation on Wednesday.
Under the proposed bill, the biggest chunk of the budget goes to education at P27.2 billion; followed by strategic infrastructure at P16.47 billion; health, P5.7 billion; and social services, P2.8 billion.
Ebrahim expressed optimism that the budget would improve the region’s economic environment and for the Bangsamoro people to reap its benefits.
Minister Mohagher Iqbal of the Basic, Higher and Technical Education said the education budget would also fund Madaris education.
“We highly invest in the education of the youth,” Iqbal said.
He reiterated the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE)’s commitment that no Bangsamoro learner, even those in remote barangays, should be left behind.
The proposed P27.2 billion budget for education would be spent for personnel services, provisions for learners’ kits, teachers’ kits, armchairs, textbooks and other school needs.
It will also include support for 5,190 madaris asatidz (teachers) serving in all public schools in the region, tertiary education and skills training scholarships, madaris education and an alternative learning system.
For higher education services, P235 million will be allotted for tertiary education scholarships and P285 million for skills training scholarships under technical education services.
The P16.47 billion proposed for the Ministry of Public Works will largely be spent on road development network programs, construction of bridges, port rehabilitation programs and other infrastructure projects.
The Ministry of Housing and Human Settlement Development will also implement a housing resettlement program for the disadvantaged and homeless sector while continuing its Kapayapaan sa Pamayanan (Kapyanan) program for housing, livelihood and electrification projects.
A total of P5.7 billion is proposed for the Ministry of Health (MOH) as BARMM seeks to provide better and accessible healthcare services while continuing to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allocation for health will be spent for vaccine procurement, COVID-19 response programs including human resources expenditures for isolation facilities, continuous health service operations for hospitals and public health offices, the construction of health facilities and the acquisition of new health and medical-related equipment.
It will also include allocation for the feasibility study of the region’s own oxygen generation plant and the continuation of the medical assistance program known as the Ayudang Medikal mula sa Bangsamoro Government (Ambag) by the Office of the Chief Minister, among others.
The Ministry of Social Services, headed by Lawyer Raissa Jajurie has been allocated P2.9 billion to fund programs, activities and projects aimed at helping the poor, orphans, widows, internally displaced persons, elderly and other marginalized special sectors.
The proposed allocation for other ministries and offices include the P5.9 billion for the Office of the Chief Minister; P3.1 billion for the Bangsamoro Transition Authority; P1.4 billion for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform; P1.2 billion for the Ministry of Interior and Local Government; P663 million for the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy; P545 million for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications; P470 million for the Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism; P358 million for the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Management; P287 million for the Ministry of Labor and Employment; P247 million for the Ministry of Science and Technology: P214 million for the Ministry of Human Settlements and Development; P135 million for the Ministry of Public Order and Safety; and P108 million for the Ministry of Indigeneous Peoples’ Affairs.
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