SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Discussions on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) continue to move forward as the Bicameral Conference Committee composed of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate reviewed four of six subcommittee reports upon the resumption of deliberations on Tuesday.
Following a battery of subcommittee meetings, the panel jointly presided by House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri tackled the proposals on the Powers of Government (Article V), Parliament (Article VII), Public Order and National Security (Article XI), and Taxes and Fiscal Matters (Articles XII).
For Article V, salient sections discussed include the power of the Bangsamoro Parliament to institutionalize customary laws; create a government body dedicated to the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples; and recommend to the President and Congress the classification of public lands into alienable and disposable lands for the timely implementation of the Bangsamoro development plans and targets, among others.
Moreover, the panel agreed to further deliberate on provisions granting the Bangsamoro Parliament the power to create local government units.
Also discussed were the provisions on Article VII on the composition of the Bangsamoro Parliament as well as the classification and allocation of seats.
The provisions cite that the Parliament shall be composed of 80 members unless otherwise fixed by Congress. It is also proposed that for district seats, members shall be elected from single member parliamentary districts apportioned based on population and geographical area, provided that each district shall comprise contiguous, compact, and adjacent territory and shall have a population of at least 100,000.
Sectoral representatives shall constitute 10 percent of Parliament, including two reserved seats each for non-Moro indigenous peoples and settler communities. Women, youth traditional leaders, and the Ulama shall each have one reserved seat. In total, reserved seats and sectoral representatives must not be less than eight seats.
Lastly, party representatives shall constitute the remaining seats unfilled by district seats, sectoral representatives, and reserved seats. The Bangsamoro Parliament shall also be granted the power to determine the manner of election of its party representatives.
Meanwhile, the discussion on Article XI included the proposal to create a Police Regional Office in the Bangsamoro, under the supervision of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The panel also discussed the proposal of the subcommittee to establish a Bangsamoro Regional Office of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Article XII proposes that the law must not be construed to alter, diminish, or repeal tax incentives already enjoyed or granted by investment promotion agencies (IPAS) of the national government to existing locators or registered business entities. Section 8, in particular, provides that in no case shall capital gains tax, documentary stamp tax, donor’s tax, and estate tax be collected by both the national government and the Bangsamoro government.
Further, the measure states that the annual block grant to be provided by the national government shall be equivalent to 5 percent of the net National Internal Revenue (NIR) collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the net collection of the Bureau of Customs from the third fiscal year following the current fiscal year. No part of the block grant shall be allocated for the procurement of armaments, ammunition, and explosives in the annual appropriations law of the Bangsamoro Parliament.
The Conference Committee agreed to defer deliberations on the provision pertaining to government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs), particularly Sections 29 to 31, which cover existing GOCCs operating exclusively in the Bansamoro and the Southern Philippine Development Authority and Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank.
Senator Francis Escudero stressed that the provisions discussed are not yet final, and shall again be deliberated once the clean draft of the BBL is prepared. The panel hopes to finalise the clean bill by July 18, 2018, Tuesday. / CMB Engracia