Muslim commission seeks higher budget for 2024

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 31) — The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos on Thursday sought a higher budget for 2024 as the Department of Budget and Management only approved an allocation of about ₱900 million.

The agency's approved budget for 2024 was ₱925,397,000, but NCMF chief Guiling Mamondiong said they proposed a ₱1 billion funding.

"We are attending to almost 15 million Muslim Filipinos all over the country. We only have that budget. Naliliitan po ako (It's a minimal amount for me)," Mamondiong lamented during the briefing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government's budget for next year.

The NCMF is an agency attached to the DILG.

The NCMF head pointed out that a larger budget would also allow them to pay for the rentals of their local offices.

"Eighty-three percent of that budget goes to personal services. Ang natitira lang po ay about 17% to answer for the rentals of our offices nationwide (Only about 17% is left for the rentals of our offices nationwise)," said Mamondiong.

"We are appealing to the members of the House to please consider an increase of our budget," he added.

Halal industry

The agency also noted that additional funding would help them in the implementation of programs for the halal industry.

"We are including as a major program yung halal po, dapat po medyo mataasan po ang budget ng NCMF dito," said Mamondiong.

[Translation: We are including a major program on halal, so the NCMF needs a higher budget for this.]

The Philippines earlier secured the commitment of the Malaysian government in helping the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in improving its halal industry.

Meanwhile, Lanao del Sur 1st dist. Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo asked the NCMF if its budget for next year includes the funding for the establishment of an office that would oversee the country's halal industry.

In response, the NCMF explained that the establishment of such an office is likely to happen in 2025.

"Now, in terms of the office for halal, part of the decentralization is to come up with a halal division under the Bureau of Muslim Economic Affairs," said Haidee Ampatuan, NCMF director for planning service.

"We are not yet finalized on that," she added. "In fact, it's not included in the 2024 budget because we still have to finalize with the DBM on the setup."