MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.5 billion for infrastructure projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The funds were released under the 2013 General Appropriations Act’s ARMM Built-in Budget Under Various Public Works Project.
Under Muslim Mindanao Act No. 294 or the Regional Public Works Act of 2013, the ARMM-Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be the implementing agency for the projects. The agency will be decentralized from its District Engineering Offices.
The funds were released on March 26, 3 days before an election ban that prohibits the release of funds for public works took effect.
“The signing of the Bangsamoro peace framework signaled not just a new era of peace for the ARMM, but also the beginning of real socio-economic development in the region. Central to this is the delivery of key public services to communities in the ARMM, particularly those where armed conflict stood in the way of growth,” DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said in a statement.
The DBM said the funds would be used to develop national roads and bridges and strategic infrastructure projects.
“One of the ways of boosting economic activity in the ARMM is by developing the region’s infrastructure system. With strategic roads and bridges in place, for example, we can improve access to and from the communities in the region and invite more commercial activity in those areas,” Abad said.
The government’s spending on infrastructure increased by 58% in 2012 to P250.8 billion. According to data from the DPWH, at least 69% of Mindanao’s national roads remain unpaved. – Rappler.com