THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) is set to release P59 million for the salary of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) members of the newly-established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“The Department of Budget and Management announced that it would be releasing P59 million for the salary of 82 Bangsamoro Transition Authority members for July to December 2019,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement on the Cabinet meeting held Monday evening.

The announcement came after the Cabinet “discussed the delay of release of BTA funds because of the reenacted budget.”

Mr. Panelo said Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unification (PAPRU) Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. also informed the Cabinet on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Normalization process and other BTA activities, including developments in the BARMM such as the appointment of leadership and heads of ministries.

In a statement posted on her Facebook page on June 25, BTA Minister Maleiha B. Candao raised the issue of their delayed salary.

“The Office of the Interim Chief Minister thru his Executive Secretary Mike Pasigan has been moving heaven and earth to fast-track the release of the salaries of the BTA members but all of these depend largely on the Department of Budget and Management,” she said.

“Government protocol and the delay of services do not necessarily mean the lack of commitment by the BARMM leadership. We all want things to flow smoothly but sad to say, there will always be a wave that can capsize our boat. The most important thing is we are always proactive,” she added.

The members of the BTA — which serves as BARMM’s interim government during the three-year transition period until June 2022 — took their oath of office on Feb. 22.

The Bureau of the Treasury has said that the reenacted budget has a “significant” impact on this year’s government spending, particularly on the new expenditures and the capital outlays, including salaries. — Arjay L. Balinbin