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BTA to use P30b to improve social services in barangays

By Teng Lauban Datu
Cotabato City Bureau Chief .

Cotabato City — The Bangsamoro Transition Authority will use P30 billion of unprogrammed funds to improve the quality of social services in the barangay levels of the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

The unprogrammed funds were meant for the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law in the 2019 General Appropriations Act, according to Local Government Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo.

“We’ve not received a part of the P30 billion, so last Cabinet meeting, there’s a decision to program the funds and request the national government to actually give the funding for us,” Sinarimbo said.

“The directive from the Chief Minister [Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim] is for the Cabinet to propose the programs and the strategy for us get the bulk of that funding to support social service delivery and frontload that to the barangay level,” he added.

The Cabinet must submit their proposed programs to the chief minister and then to the Department of Budget and Management by this week. Sinarimbo said if the funds will be transferred to the BTA by September, their programs will be delivered before 2019 ends.

Health and education, Sinarimbo said, are the basics of social services that need to be felt at the level of the barangays. “The health indicators in the region are among the worst in the country. We want to reverse that, and to do that we need to put health workers at the level of the barangays.”

He also said they “are looking at improving education outcomes. So drop-out rate is high and we want to know exactly what is causing that. Part of a study is saying parents are asking their kids, because they are poor, to do manual labor so they earn and contribute to the family’s income. If we subsidize that, we expect kids to be attending school.”

“We understand the condition on the ground and people are expecting a lot from the BTA, from the government. We want to respond quickly to that by frontloading the programs at the level already of the barangay,” Sinarimbo said. (with reports from bpi-barmm)

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