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Kasalanan ni Diokno! Lack of funding may derail BOL plebiscite – Andaya

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. warned that the absence of budget allocation may imperil the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

In his speech during the privilege hour, Andaya disclosed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) under Sec. Bejamin Diokno “has not allocated a budget, not even a centavo, for the BOL plebiscite” this coming January 21 and February 5.

“Unfortunately, our beloved DBM Secretary has forgotten to include the P1-billion amount needed for the said plebiscite,” he said.

According to Andaya, the Diokno failed allocate the said amounting when he submitted the proposed P3.757-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2019 which the Congress has yet to approve until now due to several anomalous line-item insertions.

“He completely forgot about it. And had we listened to him to pass the budget without looking at it, then we would have been part of that negligence,” said Andaya.

According to Andaya, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) needs P857 million for the BOL plebiscite. DBM Sec. Benjamin Dioko, however, forgot to include this amount in the P1 billion allocated for Comelec in the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“Saan kukunin ng Comelec ang pondo para sa plebisito kung wala ito sa budget? Sa savings for 2018? Di ba sabi ni Sec. Diokno, wala siyang kapangyarihan na mag-release ng pondo kung wala ito sa national budget?” he asked.

The budget for plebiscite, according to the House official, is not the only item which Diokno forgot to include in the 2019 budget since the allocation for the BOL implementation was “missing” from budget documents submitted by the DBM to Congress.

“Kung hindi mapopondohan ang BOL, paano natin mapapaniwala ang mga kapatid natin sa Mindanao na seryoso tayo sa usaping pangkapayapaan? Malayo na ang narating ng usaping ito. Huwag naman sanang mabale-wala dahil sa kapabayaan ng isang tao,” said Andaya.