BARMM sets up fund to defray delayed pay of national gov’t workers in region
COTABATO CITY—The interim parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has approved the establishment of a revolving fund to defray the salaries of over 3,000 national government workers doing duties with regional government agencies whose pay are delayed by up to six months.
The measure was among those pushed by Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim as priority legislation when the parliament opened its second regular session on Monday. On Wednesday afternoon, it mustered overwhelming support from the members of parliament (MPs) when it was considered for third and final reading.
With an allocation of P1 billion, the Bangsamoro Revolving Fund, seeks to ensure the timely payment of salaries and remunerations of 3,725 national government employees in case there are delays in the transfer of funds from their respective agencies.
These civil servants include doctors, nurses, midwives, health and social protection program frontliners who are deployed in the region for nationally-funded programs and work with co-implementing BARMM ministries and agencies.
Some 1,700 are working with the Ministry of Social Services and Development and close to 2,000 with the Ministry of Health.
They have complained of up to six-month delays in the payment of their salaries.
“We see the enactment of the law providing for a revolving fund for the salaries and wages of pertinent workers as a potential solution to this perennial problem (of delayed payment),” said Ebrahim, who certified the legislative measure as urgent.
Ebrahim emphasized the importance of “paying the workers’ dues before their sweat has dried up” in accordance with the tenets of Islam.
Ensuring the full protection and promotion of these workers’ general welfare, according to Ebrahim, redounds to the efficient delivery of services and programs to the Bangsamoro people.
“I hope the national government will not misconstrue this as an assumption of its responsibilities regarding salaries,” said MP Eduard Guerra.
He clarified that once the funds from the central government are available and downloaded, the concerned government agencies with nationally funded workers will return the funds to the Bangsamoro treasury.