BASILAN Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Friday welcomed the special audit requested by the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on some infrastructure projects of the now-defunct ARMM, as he renewed his call for an exhaustive midterm review of the BARMM transition period before discussing the possibility of an extension.
“The call for a special audit proves the importance for us to conduct a midterm review of both the BARMM and ARMM, para malaman natin kung may problema nga ba sa ARMM and to identify the challenges and hurdles experienced by the transition leadership in project implementation and see where we can plug these holes and help,” Hataman, former regional governor of ARMM, expressed, adding that he will accord auditors his “full support and cooperation.”
“Uulitin ko: Hindi ako against the extension. But I feel it is not wise to blindly decide to extend without looking at the very reasons for the call of extension and present concrete plans at addressing them. Kung wala tayong malinaw na roadmap, paano natin assess kung ano ang kulang at ano ang kailangan?” he explained.
Hataman earlier urged the leadership of the House of Representatives to exercise its power of congressional oversight and conduct a midterm review of the implementation of Republic Act No. 11054, or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), and the peace agreement that brought about the creation of BARMM. The Bangsamoro Transition Authority has earlier pushed for an extension of its expiration from 2022 to 2025, or three years more.
The Basilan legislator bared plans to file a resolution on Monday embodying his call for a midterm review, which will include the observations made by BARMM Public Works Minister Eduard Uy Guerra that there were “anomalous disbursements” in ARMM infra projects. A special audit has been requested to closely scrutinize apparently more than 3,000 ARMM projects supposedly amounting to P107 billion.
“Let us take the opportunity to harmonize our figures. Ang mga projects naman ng ARMM ay transparent, nasa website lahat iyan. Ang pinagtataka ko lang ay kung saan nanggaling ang P107B dahil sa datos ng ARMM, wala pang P50 billion ang aming infra projects mula 2012 hanggang 2018 o pitong taon,” Hataman asked.
“Let us open the books on this and see where the problem lies. Kung totoo na may erring contractors, habulin at ihabla. Kung may overpayment at mali ang ARMM, papanagutin din natin. Transparency is the cornerstone of the ARMM administration, especially for these infrastructure projects. May sariling website ang lahat ng projects under ARMM and anyone can check, complete with drone aerial videos and their status,” Hataman further stated.
In fact, the human rights activist continues, BARMM has even adopted the website for its use. ARMM has institutionalized transparency in its endeavors in the region, and even has GIS mapping of the projects. (Here is the website: https://mpw-barmm.org/)
“Mahigit sampung contractors ang dinemanda namin at nilagay sa blacklist for irregularities sa ARMM. Kung may ganitong nangyayari ngayon now that BARMM is in control, alamin natin para makasuhan ang dapat makasuhan. If merong overpayment na nangyari, or may cases ng corruption, they should identify it para magkaalaman,” he said.
“Kung may makita sila sa akin, then pati ako kasuhan nila. My point is simple: We need this midterm review to move forward. We cannot walk a straight path if we don’t know where we are and where we are going. Ano man ang direksyong ito, kailangan nating malaman, at iyun ang objective ng midterm review.”