On respecting the right to dissent

With 48 among the 54 Members present voting Yes, one voting No and five abstaining, the Members of Parliament (MP) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) approved the proposed PhP65.92-B budget for fiscal year 2020 on November 29.

Of the total budget, PhP43.2-B pesos or 66 percent has been allocated to fund the projects and programs of 18 ministries and offices of the Bangsamoro Government next year. In turn, of the 43.2-B budget, 20.13-B or 47 percent is appropriated as personnel services (PS); 13.92-B or 32% as maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and 9.13-B or 21% as capital outlay (CO).

Among the ministries and agencies that got the big share in the budget were the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) PhP19.056-B; Office of the Chief Minister (OCM), PhP7.922-B; Ministry of Public Works (MPW), PhP4.089-B; Ministry of Health (MOH), PhP3.069-B; the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA),PhP 2.591-B; Ministry of Social Services (MSS), PhP2.033-B; and Ministry of Interior and Local Government, PhP1.354-B.

How did the MPs voted? The MPs who voted Yes were Akmad J. Abas, Haron M. Abas, Zul Qarneys Abas, Basit Sarip S. Abbas, Mudjib C. Abu, Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong, Faiz S. Alauddin, Lanang Ali Jr., Eddie M. Alih, Zesar L. Alil, Susana S. Anayatin, Muslima A. Asmawil, Mohammad Zainoden Bato, Musa K. Diamla, Ahod B. Ebrahim, Abdullah Gayak, Edward U. Guerra, Hatimil E. Hassan, Raissa H. Jajurie, Muslimin A. Jakilan, Bainon A. Karon, Mussolini S. Lidasan, Don Mustaapha A. Loong, Abdulraof Macacua, Abdullah G. Macapaar, Jamel D. Macaraya, Marjanie S. Macasalong, Khadafe G. Mangudadatu, Malik A. Mantawil, Datu Tocao Mastura, Abdulmuhmin A. Mujahid, Suwaib L. Oranon, Abdulwahab M. Pak, Nabila Margarita P. Pangandaman, Diamila R. Ramos, Edrieza Nasser H. Rimbang, Modayao M. Sacar, Said Salendab, Romeo C. Saliga, Ali Salik, Romeo Sema, Said M. Sheik, Aida M. Silongan, Ali Solaiman. Paisalin P. Tago, Sahie S. Udjah, Adzfar S. Usman and Mohammad S. Yacob.

While the five MPs who abstained were Baintan A. Ampatuan, Rasul E. Ismael, Amilbahar Mawallil, Rasol Mitmug Jr. and Omar Yasser C. Sema.

Only MP Alzad T. Sattar voted No.

In explaining his vote, Sattar said, “My No vote, this evening, has nothing personal. I fought for what I believe was right and need to be done as embodied in RA 11054 (Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao [BARMM])and under the creed of Moral Governance relative to Madrasah Education, per se. I found out, madrasah education was not equitably given what is due for it in terms of budget allocation.”

MP Guerra, however, said, "We should put this in the proper context, not half-truth for it is a lie. BARMM government allots almost P500-M or half a billion for Madaris Education. Out of that amount P36-M is earmarked for trainings of Asatidz (Madrasah teachers) in order to improve their teaching competencies and skills. And that is P3-M per month compared to ARMM 2019 budget for Madaris, a measly 20-M.”

Cognizant of the fact that the right to dissent is an essence of democracy, we highly respect the decisions of those who abstained during the voting and even the one who voted No.