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Solons consult economic experts on BBL fiscal autonomy


The House committees on Local Government and Muslim affairs, as well as the special committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity on Wednesday, consulted finance and economic experts on the fiscal autonomy aspect of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

BBL Panel member for Majority Congressman Celso Lobregat said that during the joint hearing of the three panels, officials of the Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) gave their positions on the BBL’s fiscal autonomy aspect.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said, the BBL would allow for more substantial autonomous arrangements, a major step towards promoting harmonious co-development in Mindanao.

Dominguez commented on a number of BBL sections, emphasizing two main points covering the funding of the proposed transitional government. First, any proposed funding scheme should be programmatic, transparent, and performance-based, he said.Second, the fundamental requirements for sustained growth such as hard infrastructure, new communications technology, and efficient administration system must apply to the Bangsamoro region as they do to the rest of the Republic.

Fiscal provisions in BBL, for instance, allow the Bangsamoro government to issue bonds along with other revenue generating measures, according to him. “We are afraid these would not succeed unless the autonomous region first achieves fiscal discipline and demonstrates it,” said Dominguez.

Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Tina Rosemarie Canda said, the BBL substance centers on four points: creation of offices which should conform to the national government’s guidelines; clarifications on the block grants; termination of employees as a result of the BBL; and sharing of the resources that would be given as the result of the six percent provision for block grants.

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary Aurora Navarro said the NEDA is supporting the passage of BBL and they are one with the Bangsamoro in promoting socio-economic development in the region.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas representative, Atty. Noel Tianala also expressed full support for the passage of the BBL. He said the BSP believes this will bring lasting and permanent peace in Mindanao which could provide greater socio-economic benefits not only in the region, but for the whole country.

Cong. Celso Lobregat requested the concerned agencies to submit to the committees the facts and per capita figures in the last 10 years relative to funding support for all regions in the country. (Dexter Yap/PR)

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