Residents of ‘IRA-less’ Maguindanao town certain of monthly IRA soon PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 January 2014 11:20

Residents of Pandag, one of a dozen towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that do not get monthly Internal Revenue Allotment from the national government, are optimistic Malacañang will soon grant them IRA, which they need to bankroll domestic peace and development initiatives.

Local officials in Pandag, whose folks celebrated the town’s 7th founding anniversary last Sunday, said they are confident President Benigno Aquino III will respond positively to a resolution by the ARMM’s 24-member Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) seeking presidential imprimatur for the grant of monthly IRA to the 12 fledgling towns.

The 12 new towns, created by the RLA from between 2007 to 2009, have been subsisting on “cash assistance” from the Department of Budget and Management.

Seven of the 12 towns are in Maguindanao — Pandag, Mangudadatu, Datu Hoffer, Saidona Mustapha, Salibo, Northern Kabuntalan and Datu Blah Sinsuat.

The ARMM has more than a hundred towns scattered in Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in Central Mindanao, and in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

The mayor of Pandag, Bai Zihan Mamalinta-Mangudadatu, who was elected to office only last May 13,2013, said it is good enough that the ARMM has been providing them with socio-economic interventions needed to sustain their local government unit’s peace and development initiatives.

“And all of these projects are being implemented properly, honestly. The socio-economic growth of Pandag will surely accelerate if it can get monthly IRA,” said the mayor, whose spouse is incumbent ARMM Assemblyman Khadafeh Mangudadatu.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, who was guest of honor in Sunday’s commemoration of Pandag’s seventh founding anniversary, said he will continue to extend support to the town’s LGU while efforts to secure its monthly IRA are still underway.

The governor said a fraction of their P2 billion loan from the Philippine National Bank for the massive development of Maguindanao, to start this year, is intended for the economic empowerment of farmers in the seven towns in the province that have not been receiving monthly IRA from the national government.

Maguindanao has 36 towns, where the governor has dozens of projects complementing the socio-economic component of the peace overture between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Assemblyman Mangudadatu and Gov. Mangudadatu both received special commendations from Pandag’s LGU during the town’s anniversary feast last Sunday in recognition of their efforts to nurture the fledgling municipality.

Assemblyman Mangudadatu earlier said the effort of the RLA — touted as “Little Congress” of ARMM — to secure monthly IRA for each of the 12 towns has started bearing fruits.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman already announced last week that his office is ready to provide P500,000 monthly support to the 12 towns.

Hataman said he will organize a forum with local officials from the 12 towns to discuss with them the facilitation of the P500,000 monthly subsidy.