By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The signing of the proposed 2019 budget in Congress and its coming enactment would benefit the newly-established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Senator Grace Poe said Wednesday.
Poe welcomed the enrolment of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) to the Palace, saying it was a “major step” toward the development of the region and implementation of projects in Mindanao.
“Pag pumasok talaga ang funding ng national government, umpisahan na natin ang mga infrastructure projects at saka kung anumang mga proyekto, para may trabaho ang mga tao. ‘Pag ‘yung mga tao ay may trabaho, mas mapayapa, mas magiging madali ang transition,” Poe said in an interview during her visit in Cotabato City Wednesday.
(Once the funding of the national government comes in, we should start rolling out infrastructure and other projects, so that jobs will be created. If people have jobs, it would be more peaceful, and the transition to BARMM would be much easier.)
“Importante na mapunta talaga ang pondo dito para sa ating mga kababayan (It is important the funds go directly to our countrymen)…We want to make sure na tuluy-tuloy ang mga infrastructure programs dito (that infrastructure programs are continuous here),” she added.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday signed the GAB with “strong reservations” due to the alleged realignments made by the House of Representatives to the ratified budget measure.
Sotto said this is to break the long-running stalemate between the two chambers of Congress and finally let President Duterte decide on what he described as an “unconstitutional” move by the House.
Poe, for her part, said Sotto’s signing of the GAB will give the Bangsamoro Transition Authority the chance to establish themselves and the BARMM.
“Importante na ma-maintain natin ang peace and order dito para mas maging maayos ang latag ng bagong ruling body dito,” Poe said.
Poe on Wednesday met BARMM Interim Chief Minister Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim ahead of his oath of office and the regional parliament’s inaugural session this Friday, March 29.
“It’s really a privilege and a very important time in our history…Mahalaga ito [Bangsamoro Organic Law] para sa ating mga kababayan kasi finally, ang tinatamasa nating suporta para magkaroon ng sarili ring pamamalakad ang ating mga kababayan dito, ay matutuloy na. Bilang kasapi ng national government, gusto nating masiguro na ang suporta na ‘yan ay tuluy-tuloy. I just came here para i-congratulate si Chief Minister Murad sa kanyang panunungkulan,” Poe told reporters.