Mandaluyong City, July 12, 2018 – The League of Bangsamoro Organizations lauded the Bicameral Conference Committee following the approval of provisions granting the Bangsamoro its fiscal autonomy.
Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have been tackling the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) since July 9 to reconcile their respective versions of the law.
Yesterday, the legislators agreed to the 75-25 wealth-sharing term in favor of the Bangsamoro. This increases the share of the Bangsamoro in government tax revenues by 5 percent.
Currently, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is getting 70 percent of collection of a province or city from national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges, as well as taxes imposed on natural resources.
Apart from this, panels from both chambers of Congress have agreed on the automatic allocation of the annual block grant for the Bangsamoro region. This is equivalent to five percent of the net national internal revenue of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Bobby Benito, speaking for more than 60 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with a total of roughly 40,000 individual members, said the network of organizations joyfully welcomes the decision.
Kailangan talaga ‘yan kasi sa tingin namin isa ‘yan sa major problems – iyong fiscal autonomy – kung bakit nabe-behind kami sa neighboring areas,” Benito said in an interview.
(It is really needed because in our view, the lack of fiscal autonomy is one of the major reasons we are trailing behind our neighboring areas.)
“Pero ngayon, meron na kaming powers na mag-identify ng projects based on our needs. Iyong mga komunidad namin, sila na ang mag-decide kung magkano ang (ibibigay) na budget sa ganitong project. Mayroon kaming leeway, mayroon kaming autonomy to decide kung anong project ang developmental para sa amin,” he added.
(But now, we have the power to identify the projects based on our needs. Our communities will decide on how much budget will be allocated for such project. We have leeway, we have autonomy to decide what projects will be developmental for us.)
Benito also urged government and the legislators to trust the Bangsamoro people.
Sana magtiwala lang iyong government, iyong legislators na i-prove namin na we can govern, we can manage. Basta bigyan lang kami ng leeway,” he said.
(We hope the government and the legislators will trust us and allow us to prove that we can govern, we can manage. Just give us leeway.)
The bicameral committee is eyeing to present the reconciled version of the BBL to President Rodrigo Duterte before his coming State of the Nation Address on July 23. ###