DSWD’s 2016 budget deferred as Celso inquires on ‘MILF communities’ issue PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 14:18

During the Expanded Regional Development Council (RDC) IX Executive Committee (EXECOM) Meeting on the FY 2016 Budget Review and Consultation held on 16 March 2015 in the House of Representatives, the Council deferred the consideration of the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Said deferment is due to the issue on the “MILF communities” in Zamboanga City. District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat asked the DSWD to explain said issue.

Lobregat said there were reports that the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is implementing the so-called Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program in some barangays tagged as “MILF communities.” OPAPP and other concerned agencies or groups should be summoned immediately for a dialogue to inquire about the implementation of such projects just as what the city did a few months ago when the issue about the formation of a supposed Bangsamoro government in Cawit was also reported. The OPAPP at that time said such activities should not be undertaken in Cawit and ordered the stoppage of such activities.

Lobregat stressed that the city government should be properly informed and coordinated of any programs or activities undertaken in any of the barangays of the city. More so, Zamboanga City is not part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) or of the proposed Bangsamoro territory, thus any Bangsamoro-related programs or activities should not be conducted in the city.

If and when such activities are to be implemented, it should not be by the OPAPP or by the MILF but by the National Commission for Muslim Affairs (NCMF).

One of the proposed BBL provisions that Lobregat has been questioning about was the so-called “inter-governmental relationship” in section 10 which pertains to “assistance to other Bangsamoro communities residing outside the Bangsamoro territory” and which talks about implementation of programs for the rehabilitation of communities to enhance economic, social and cultural development”.

The District 1 congressman said the said provision may be connected to the Sajahatra Bangsamoro implemented in the city since 2013 as what the OPAPP claims. However, the said provision is included in the proposed BBL which is still pending in Congress and is considered by Lobregat as questionable.

The expanded RDC IX EXECOM meeting was chaired by RDC IX Acting Chairperson and NEDA IX Regional Director Teresita Socorro Ramos.

Also in attendance were Representatives from the Zamboanga Peninsula namely Rep. Aurora Cerilles (Zamboanga del Sur, 2nd District), Rep. Victor Yu (Zamboanga del Sur, 1st District), Rep. Rosendo Labadlabad (Zamboanga del Norte, 2nd District), Rep. Isagani Amatong (Zamboanga del Norte, 3rd District), Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos (Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District), Rep. Ann Hofer (Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd District),Rep. Lilia Macrohon-Nuño (Zamboanga City, 2nd District) and Rep. Celso Lobregat (Zamboanga City, 1st District).

Among the LGU officials present were Governor Antonio Cerilles and Pagadian City Mayor Romeo Pulmones.

Also present were DPWH  IX Regional Director Jorge Sebastian Jr., DILG IX Regional Director Paisal Abutazil, DBM IX Regional Director Annabelle Echavez, DOST IX Regional Director Brenda Nazareth-Manzano, DOH IX Regional Director Nimfa Torrizo, DSWD IX Assistant Regional Director Riduan Hadjimuddin, Jose Suan (PSR – Zamboanga City), Enrico Montano (PSR – Zamboanga del Norte), Paulino Gudmalin (PSR – Zamboanga del Norte), Mercedez Quisumbing (PSR – Zamboanga del Sur), Nestor Cabonera (PSR – Zamboanga Sibugay), Miriam Suasito (PSR – Isabela City) and Victoria Cajandig (PSR – IP sector). — Jubels Santos