ARMM gets more than P30M for 2014, 2015 and 2016 infra budget PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 September 2015 11:41

The overly large increases in the infrastructure budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) from 2013 to 2016 is a consequence of the present administration’s sensible handling of funds from the national coffer.

This was the consensus reached by ARMM officials during a meeting of the Regional Economic and Development Planning Board (REDPB) in Makati on Thursday.

From its measly P1 billion yearly infrastructure subsidy when incumbent ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman assumed as appointed caretaker of the regional government in December 2012, the region got P2.97 billion in 2014, P10.15 billion in 2015 and was allocated with a P10.15 grant for 2016.

The national government also provided the region with an additional P10 billion grant for more projects in 2016 via the regional Department of Public Works and Highways.

Engineer Don Mustapha Loong, secretary of DPWH-ARMM on Monday said he had told REDPB members that it was for the religious and transparent handling of state funds by the Hataman administration that President Benigno Aquino III and the two chambers of Congress increased the region’s 2014, 2015 and 2016 infrastructure budget.

“We cannot have these increases without approval from Malacañang, from the House of Representatives and from the Senate. It is the farmers, the fishermen and the fledgling communities that will benefit so much from these good tidings,” Loong said.

The REDPB meeting in Makati City last Thursday was jointly presided over by Baintan Adil-Ampatuan, who is executive director of the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO), and Hataman’s executive secretary, lawyer Laisa Alamia.

“The implementation of regional infrastructure projects in the past three years were made open to scrutiny by civil society organizations in the autonomous region and to all media outfits in the area and those based outside of ARMM,” Loong said.

Ampatuan, who is an engineer, agreed with Loong’s assertion, citing that they keep documents detailing all projects implemented by the Hataman administration in recent years.

Hataman was elected as ARMM’s eighth regional governor during the May 13, 2013 synchronized local, regional and senatorial elections. The autonomous region was created through a plebiscite in 1990, which resulted to the ratification of its first charter, Republic Act 6734, subsequently amended, to become R.A. 9054, via another referendum in 2001.

The DPWH-ARMM was touted as the second most corrupt agency in the region during the time of past administrations, next to the regional education department, then notorious for its ghost teachers, non-existent schools that regularly received operating funds and anomalous appointment of non-licensed teachers, facilitated in exchange for money.

Hataman ordered last week the RPDO to help validate, with the help of community leaders and the media, all projects the regional government had accomplished from 2013 up to the 3rd quarter of 2015.

Loong, the chief engineers in ARMM’s eight District Engineering Offices and media practitioners have been monitoring for eight weeks now the infrastructure projects of the regional government using drone technology and satellite-based geo-tagging systems.

“Add to that the actual site inspections, project quality analysis and actual measuring of roads using traditional manual instruments,” Loong said.

Ampatuan and Loong both said the projects the Hataman administration had accomplished and those to be implemented still will boost Malacañang’s normalization programs for conflict-devastated areas.

“There are improvements now in the productivity of peasant communities and the local fishery sector as a result of these projects,” Loong said.