By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Tuesday called on fellow lawmakers to allocate sufficient funds for the full implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to ensure the fulfillment of its mandate to bring peace and order in Mindanao.
“Dapat tiyakin na sapat at hindi kulang ang suporta para sa BOL,( We need to make sure there is enough support for the BOL implementation)” said Aquino, co-author and co-sponsor of the BOL.
“Ang tagal na nitong pinangarap at inilaban ng mga kapatid nating Moro. Dapat hindi mabinbin ang transition dahil sa kakulangan ng budget (We have long dreamed of this and our Moro brothers fought for this. So we need to make sure the transition would be stalled because of the lack of budget),” Aquino stressed.
Under Republic Act 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the current appropriation for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.
The senator noted that the ARMM’s 2019 approved budget of P31.1-billion won’t be enough as the transition to BOL needs around P59- billion.
He said the Senate version of the proposed 2019 national budget has allotted around P30 billion additional budget for the BOL.
However, the budget measure is still stalled in the bicameral conference committee level.
Should there be a re-enacted budget for 2019, the lawmaker said the President can issue a supplemental budget, subject to the certification of the Treasurer of the Philippines that there’s enough fund for the purpose.
“Sayang naman kung hindi natin bibigyan ng tamang pondo ang BOL. Itodo na natin ang suporta upang maabot na ng mga kababayan natin sa Mindanao ang inaasam nilang kapayapaan at kaunlaran (Our efforts to pass the BOL would be wasted if we don’t provide funds for the BOL. Let’s give them our full support so the people in Mindanao can finally achieve prosperity and development),” he said.
“Kinakailangan ang sapat na budget para makalikha ng iba’t ibang trabaho para sa mga kababayan natin doon, (We need funds in order to create jobs for the people there),” the senator added.