(File photo)

MANILA – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will receive PHP5 billion for the rehabilitation of its conflict-ridden communities, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced on Wednesday.

In the May 24 column published in the local newspaper Manila Bulletin, DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman confirmed that she had approved the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) amounting to PHP5 billion for BARMM’s Special Development Fund (SDF).

“Recently, I also approved the Special Allotment Release Order amounting to PHP5 billion for the Special Development Fund of BARMM for the rebuilding, rehabilitation, and development of its conflict-affected communities,” Pangandaman said.
“These are on top of the PHP64.8 billion block grant to the Bangsamoro government in the 2023 Budget.”

The DBM, in a separate statement, said the release of the PHP5 billion fund is under Section 2, Article 15 of Republic Act (RA) 11054.

RA 11054 mandates the national government to grant the BARMM government a PHP5 billion SDF annually for 10 years to rebuild, rehabilitate, and develop the region’s conflict-affected communities.

The DBM said the allocations should be released by the Bureau of Treasury to the BARMM government through an authorized government servicing bank, subject to cash programming by the national government.

Pangandaman expressed optimism over the BARMM government’s proper use of funds to ensure the region’s development.

“We hope that BARMM takes advantage of this funding by fully utilizing it to help those in need, and to improve areas that needs further development,” she said.

The most recent conflict that erupted in BARMM was the five-month siege of Marawi City, which ended in October 2017.

The clash resulted in PHP17 billion in property damage and lost opportunities, based on the data from Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the government inter-agency body in charge of rehabilitation efforts in the conflict zone.

In 2018, TFBM said in an initial estimate that at least PHP49.8 billion is needed to restore affected parts of Marawi.

Pangandaman renewed the commitment of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and his administration to helping the Bangsamoro government strengthen the communities in BARMM.

"Tulad po ng ipinangako ko, at alinsunod po sa tagubilin ni Pangulong Bongbong Marcos, patuloy po ang DBM na aalalay sa BARMM sa abot ng aming makakaya (In line with President Bongbong Marcos’ directive, the DBM will continue to assist the BARMM). We will ensure that we will help in its smooth transition process and strengthening its communities," she said.

The Marcos administration has allotted PHP64.76 billion for BARMM’s Annual Block Grant; PHP5 billion SDF for the rebuilding, rehabilitation, and development of conflict-affected communities; and PHP4.59 billion for its share in taxes, fees, and charges collected in the region. (PNA)