Mindanao lawmakers have pushed for the creation of a National Department of Public Works and Highways in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to implement the department’s national program in the newly established region.
In House Resolution 333, Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, Maguindanao Reps. Datu Ronnie Q. Sinsuat, Sr. and Esmael G. Mangudadatu, Sulu Rep. Munir M. Arbison, Tawi-Tawi Rep. Rasidin H. Matba, Lanao del Sur Reps. Yasser Alonto Balindong and Ansaruddin Abdul Malik A. Adiong and Anak Mindanao Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan said the creation of the national department will ensure an the honest to goodness implementation of the DPWH’s national program in BARMM “given the present circumstances.”
“We have taught to push for the creation of a Natl DPWH in BARMM to ensure full implementation of the DPWH programs in the region,” Hataman, former ARMM governor, said.
The Basilan congressman also said the situation is compounded by the fact that the national government has adopted a Cash Budgeting System when it comes to appropriations as contained in EO 91 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The resolution took note of the reported “phaseout” of around 6,000 employees of the now-defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is due in the last week of December 2019.
“Given the information cited above, it will be extremely difficult for the National Government to deliver its mandate of implementing nationally funded infrastructure in BARMM as provided by Article XIII, Sec 3 of the Bangsamaro Organic Law (BOL),” the lawmakers said in the resolution.
“There are other projects related to infrastructure that the National Government is also required to deliver such as that of Task Force Bangon Marawi and other similar National programs from other agencies, to include Official Development Assistance (ODA) covering the BARMM,” they added.
The legislators also explained it would likewise be difficult to expect the BARMM to deliver said infrastructure projects considering that according to Paragraph (i) of Section 8, Article XVI of BOL, the new Bangsamoro government is limited to a Minister of Public Works, and that “Highways is a mandate of the national government” through the DPWH.
“In order to ensure national relevance and assistance to the BARMM, the House of Representatives is expressing its sense, through this resolution, that a National DPWH focused on implementing the National Infrastructure Programs, Activities and Projects (PAPs) be created in BARMM,” the resolution stated.
The eight lawmakers from Mindanao appealed to their colleagues to support the resolution.