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Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Bangsamoro chief minister files ₱98.46-billion budget proposal

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DAVAO CITY—The office of the Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro government submitted close to P100 billion budget for next year, with education getting a third of the allocation.

Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim personally handed the proposed 2024 Bangsamoro Expenditure Program (BEP) to Bangsamoro Parliament Speaker Pangalian Balindong on October 24. The proposed budget totals P98.46 billion, with education, infrastructure, and health as the top three priorities.

“After centuries of struggle for self-determination, the Bangsamoro is now recognized as an autonomous entity cultivating the seeds of Jihad that were once planted into our hearts,” Ebrahim said in the ceremonial submission of the budget to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

Minister Ubaida Pacasem of Finance, Budget, and Management said the budget proposal includes the following components: P70.5 billion from the annual block grant as provided for in the 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP); P5.08 billion from shares in national taxes collected within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as provided in the NEP; P5 billion for the Special Development Fund; P471 million from the projected regional taxes; and P17.3 billion from the declared savings from prior years.

Education got the biggest slice of the budget with an allocation of P30.2 billion and Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal said this would highlight education as the “foundation of inclusive growth, sustainable development, and innovation.”

The Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) has proposed continuing its programs, such as the Access to Higher and Modern Education Scholarship Program, TVET Scholarship Program, Bangsamoro Education Program, Madaris Standards and Provision Program, Responsive Education System Promoting Effectiveness Competency Teaching Program, Madaris Asatidz Program, Bangsamoro School Sports Program, and Inclusive Education Program.

The ministry also proposed P754 million for the construction of schools, classrooms, and libraries, as well as the provision of furniture and fixtures for teachers.

The Ministry of Public Works  (MPW) was second although it got only slightly more than half of that of education, with a budget of P17.6 billion.

Public Works Minister Arch. Eduard Guerra said that they intend to expedite the construction and maintenance of essential infrastructure facilities, such as flood management, bridges, and water systems.

Health was third, with a proposed budget of P6.6 billion for the Ministry of Health (MOH) to support public health services, revitalize health facilities, and enhance the overall health system, addressing the lack of supplies and equipment.

The MOH also intends to strengthen rural health units and barangay health units.

The top 10 budgeted ministries and offices in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were the following:

1. MBHTE: P30,231,210,027

2. MPW: P17,614,054,140

3. MOH: P6,657,091,430

4. Ministry of Social Services and Development: P3,702,389,285

5. Office of the Chief Minister: P3,483,118,344

6. Bangsamoro Transition Authority: P3,112,866,028

7. Ministry of Interior and Local Government: P2,279,893,235

8. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform: P1,882,041,274

9. Ministry of Human Settlements and Development: P1,132,845,944

10. Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy: P834,206,301

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