By Carolyn O. Arguillas
Last of three parts
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim admitted they are faced with “huge challenges” as they transition from armed to democratic struggle, particularly on how to “ensure a responsive and timely program for around 30,000 to 40,000 of our combatants who will undergo the decommissioning process.”
“The first recipient of the true dividends of peace must be these individuals and their communities,” he said, adding there are still “thousands of reserve and irregular members of the BIAF who will likewise have to be converted to productive civilian population.”
In the transition from Armm to Barmm, he said they “will need to learn a lot of new skills to be able to effectively manage this transition.”
Murad explained that phasing out the Armm bureaucracy and installing the new Bangsamoro civil service “must be perfectly synchronized to avoid disruption in service delivery,” that “effectively performing civil servants are made available, new arrivals are fully capacitated and those who are separated get appropriate severance (pay).”
Murad also expressed concern over a major challenge: financing the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
“We cannot successfully kick start a government that will make a marked difference in the lives of our people if there is no infusion of new money into the region,” he said.
Because the Bangsamoro has yet to be ratified, it cannot be included in the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act. Instead, it will inherit the P32-billion budget approved for the Armm in 2019.
Murad hopes the BTA, which would run a ministerial form of government, would be able to receive next year the Special Development Fund (SDF) and block grant provided for under RA 11054.
The SDF is P50 billion at P5 billion per year for 10 years from the ratification of the law.
The block grant is equivalent to five percent of the net national internal revenue tax collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and net collection of the Bureau of Customs.
“We cannot just inherit the regular programmed resources of the current Armm for this leaves us without flexibility to respond to emerging and new priorities. Here, we will need the assistance of our good friend Sec Jess to make this point clear to our partners in government. A further step into this will be the complementation of our effort from our development partners to achieve a perfect complementation in our efforts and avoid duplicity,” he said. (mindanews)