12 municipalities with no IRA will be subsidized by BARMM

SULTAN kUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO—An official of Bangsamoro autonomous government said that the region will subsidize regular monthly internal revenue allocation (IRA) to 12 constituent towns created without the provision for internal revenue allotments (IRA).

In its online report on January 4, the Manila Bulletin (MB) identified the 12 IRA-less municipalities as Shariff Saidona Mustapha, Datu Hofer, Datu Salibo, Anggal Midtimbang, Blah Sinsuat, Mangudadatu, Pandag, and Northern Kabuntalan, all in Maguindanao; and Akbar, Mohammad Ajul, Hadji Muhtamad, and, all in Basilan.

These towns were established one after another beginning in 2006 by the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the MB report said.

The requirements set under R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 were not fully satisfied when the said towns were created, hence the non-provision of IRA.

And since their creation, the 12 municipal governments have reportedly subsisted on special fiscal aids from the national, regional and provincial administrations, which have proven to be inconsistent.

Ironically, older barangays absorbed by the 12 towns have been receiving regular IRAs from the national government, the MB report added.

The past ARMM administrations, notably of former Regional Governors Ansaruddin Adiong and Mujiv Hataman had made several representations to national authorities, but failed to draw favorable attention to the plight of the 12 predominantly Muslim towns, the MB report further said.

But hopes began to surface after the enactment in July 2018 of Republic Act 11054, which mandated the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), replacing the 29-year old ARMM.

Minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG), who is also the BARMM spokesman hinted at sourcing the IRA of the 12 towns from the annual subsidies of the new regional government.

In an interview by the Manila Bulletin, Sinarimbo also hinted at the passage by the BARMM parliament of a regional local government code that will adjust requirements on grant of IRA to municipalities within the new region.