ARMM Local Gov’t Secretary urges passage of BBL

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 June) – The Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DILG-ARMM) has urged the Philippine Councilors League and its local government units to file resolutions urging Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Speaking at the PCL’s Continuing Local Legislative Education Program and national board meeting at the SMX Convention Center on Wednesday, Secretary Anwar Malang said the passage of the BBL would address the “structural defects” of the ARMM to allow for a stronger, more autonomous Bangsamoro, the new autonomous political entity that would replace the ARMM, as agreed upon by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“We are trying to get away from a failed experiment that is the ARMM,” Malang said.

Malang said that since 2011, when Mujiv Hataman was appointed OIC Governor and was elected in 2013 as Governor, the ARMM has done a “major re-engineering” process, including creating a local performance audit to assess the local government units’ own gaps.

He added that most of the LGUs in the region are now “within the benchmark of functionality.”

Malang lamented that Congress was not able to pass the BBL before adjourning sine die.

Malang said the Bangsamoro would now enjoy fiscal autonomy more than the present situation in the ARMM.

“The ARMM, for example, has no Department of Budget Management,” he said, adding that funding downloads have to be transmitted via nearby regions like region 9 or 12. Also, he said, the ARMM, unlike local government units whose Internal Revenue Allotment is release automatically, has to defend its budget every year.

The passage of the BBL, he said, would give the region its true essence of autonomy, he said.

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law approved on May 20, a substitute bill to the BBL – HB 5811 or what is now referred to as the “Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”

The substitute bill is now on its period of interpellation at the House of Representatives but only eight out of 38 Representatives who had signed up to interpellate, finished before Congress adjourned late evening June 10.

The period of interpellation, which began on June 2, was suspended at 9:20 p.m. June 10 until Congress resumes sessions after President Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address on July 27.

The substitute bill has been criticized as providing for an autonomous region “less than the ARMM” although Committee chair Rufus Rodriguez says the autonomy that the substitute bill envisions gives more powers than the present ARMM. (MindaNews)