Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman on Thursday lamented what he described as inequitable infrastructure budget allocation for Mindanao under the proposed 2023 national budget.
Hataman cited the need for a higher infrastructure fund for Mindanao to arrest the regional poverty incidences on the war-ravaged island.
He appealed to his colleagues in the House of Representatives, especially those from Mindanao, to unite and work for the restoration of the infrastructure budget of Mindanao back to its 2022 levels.
“Mindanao suffered a huge slash in infrastructure outlay, from P84.69 billion in 2022 to only P30.49 billion in 2023, or a reduction of a whopping P54.2 billion or almost a 64 percent decrease from last year,” Hataman said.
The lawmaker is asking if the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) considered poverty incidence in formulating the proposed national budget.
According to Hataman, four out of the Top 5 poorest regions in the country as indicated by their poverty incidence come from Mindanao: BARMM, 45.8 percent; CARAGA, 38.3 percent; Region IX, 37.4; Region VIII, 36 percent; and Region XII, 34.1 percent.
In response to Hataman’s assertion, Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, vice chair of the House committee on appropriations, responded to Hataman during plenary debates on the 2023 national budget that agencies have regional offices that send feedback on regional needs, such as data on the 4Ps program and other social welfare programs. Maricel V. Cruz
Hataman agreed that the 4Ps program helps address poverty incidence, but infrastructure projects provide jobs and income, especially in impoverished areas in many parts of Mindanao.