Dominguez: Budget needed for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 22) — As the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) edges closer to ratification, the Department of Finance (DOF) flags the need for it to have a separate funding.

And the ball is now in the court of Congress.

"It will have to be budgeted. The legislation will have to budget the amount because it's in the law," says Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez in an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines. He did not say the form of funding for the new region, although the law sets aside an annual bloc grant from the national budget.

In a statement last week, then House majority leader now Committee on Appropriations chair Rolando Andaya said Budget Secretary Ben Diokno did not set aside BOL funding in the 2019 budget.

In case the budget is approved, it would be up to the people in the new Bangsamoro Administrative Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to decide how it will be spent.

"The people in the responsible area will have the responsibility to spend the money for the benefit of their area," Dominguez said, adding that he hoped the people will elect "forward-looking and dynamic executives" to lead them.

President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposed ₱3.757 trillion 2019 budget on July 10. Sixteen days later, in a speech in Zamboanga City, Duterte announced that he had already signed the BOL.

Catch the full interview on January 23, 7 p.m., on CNN Philippines.