Sen. Bongbong’s substitute BBL has concrete safeguards against fund misuse

SENATE Bill 2894, the substitute proposal of Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. to the Malacañang-proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), contains strong safeguards against reckless appropriation and utilization of funds.

“The appropriations and use of funds that would be made by the Bangsamoro parliament shall be audited by the Commission on Audit (COA). Therefore, they will be held to the generally accepted practices of government accounting,” Sen. Bongbong said.

Article 5 of SB 2894, or the “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” states that COA “shall establish an auditing unit in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region which shall examine, audit and settle all accounts pertaining to the revenue and receipts of, and expenditures or uses of funds and property, owned or held in trust by, or pertaining to the Bangsamoro Regional Government.”

Sen. Bongbong said this is a more categorical, explicit, and concrete safeguard against possible misuse of public funds in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region than the BBL’s (SB 2408) ambiguous provision that: “The Bangsamoro auditing body shall have auditing responsibility over public funds utilized by the Bangsamoro, without prejudice to the power, authority and duty of the national Commission on Audit (COA).”

“The language of this provision may have varying meanings to different people. To avoid misinterpretation, I have to make it clear that COA shall audit the funds,” he said.

Aside from the COA, he said, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will also exercise the power to review appropriations that would be made by the Bangsamoro parliament for the autonomous region.

“The DBM will also have a review function over the appropriation of funds in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region because it is, in fact, a local government. The rules that apply to other local governments must also apply to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and so the function of review that the DBM carries out should also be applied to it,” he said.

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