A lawmaker from Mindanao on Friday welcomed the special audit requested by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao on some infrastructure projects of the now-defunct ARMM.
At the same time, Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman renewed his call for an exhaustive midterm review of the BARMM transition period before discussing the possibility of an extension.
“The call for a special audit proves the importance for us to conduct a midterm review of both the BARMM and ARMM, para malaman natin kung may problema nga ba sa ARMM and to identify the challenges and hurdles experienced by the transition leadership in project implementation and see where we can plug these holes and help,” Hataman, former regional governor of the ARMM, said, adding he will give auditors his “full support and cooperation.”
“As I have said, I am not against the extension. But I feel it is not wise to blindly decide to extend without looking at the very reasons for the call of extension and present concrete plans at addressing them. If we do not have a clear roadmap, how are we able to assess what is lacking and what is needed?” he said.
Hataman earlier urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to exercise its power of congressional oversight and conduct a midterm review of the implementation of Republic Act 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law, and the peace agreement that brought about the creation of BARMM. The Bangsamoro Transition Authority had earlier pushed for an extension of its expiration from 2022 to 2025, or three years more.
The Basilan legislator bared plans to file a resolution on Monday embodying his call for a midterm review, which will include the observations made by BARMM Public Works Minister Eduard Uy Guerra that there were “anomalous disbursements” in ARMM infra projects. A special audit has been requested to scrutinize apparently more than 3,000 ARMM projects supposedly amounting to P107 billion.
“Let us take the opportunity to harmonize our figures. All ARMM projects are transparent and posted at the website,” Hataman said.
“Let us open the books on this and see where the problem lies...Transparency is the cornerstone of the ARMM administration, especially for these infrastructure projects. May sariling website ang lahat ng projects under ARMM and anyone can check, complete with drone aerial videos and their status,” Hataman said.