Credit to Author: acerojano| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 11:01:10 +0000
MANILA, Philippines — House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. has warned that the “prospect of lasting peace in Mindanao” might be put “in peril” as the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) failed to allocate budget for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite.
The lack of funding for the BOL plebiscite has been pointed out during budget debates in the lower chamber as early as August 2018.
“I hate to be the one to burst the bubble. The DBM has not allocated a budget, not even a centavo, for the BOL plebiscite,” Andaya said in a statement on Monday. He also pointed out the same during a privilege speech at the plenary.
The plebiscite for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Cotabato City, and Isabela City in Basilan is set for Jan. 21 while the plebiscite for Lanao del Norte and other Bangsamoro core areas will be on Feb. 6.
The Camarines Sur congressman said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) needed P857 million for the BOL plebiscite but he said Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno “forgot to include this amount in the P1 billion allocated for Comelec in the 2019 national budget.”
Even the budget for the BOL implementation was missing from budget documents submitted by the DBM to Congress, he added.
Senate debate records show that the implementation of the BOL will cost P109 billion in the first year, P369 billion in the first three years, and will reach P1.981 trillion for 10 years.
The amount does not include funds for social services like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), and pension for senior citizens, as well as the annual outlay for the maintenance of airports, piers, roads, bridges, and irrigation, Andaya said.
“Kung hindi mapopondohan ang BOL, paano natin mapapaniwala ang mga kapatid natin sa Mindanao na seryoso tayo sa usaping pangkapayapaan? Malayo na ang narating ng usaping ito. Huwag naman sanang mabale-wala dahil sa kapabayaan ng isang tao,” he added.