||Asean Affairs 16 July 2013
PHL gov't agrees to give greater fiscal power to Bangsamoro gov't
The Philippine government has agreed to give greater fiscal power to the government of the proposed Bangsamoro political entity, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said Sunday
In the eight-page wealth-sharing annex signed by the peace panels of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the parties agreed that 75 percent of taxes, fees and charges collected in the proposed Bangsamoro political entity will go to the region's government. The rest will go to the central government.
The OPAPP said the same arrangement will be followed when it comes to income "derived from exploration, development and utilization of metallic minerals within the region."
In accordance with Republic Act 6734, taxes collected in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are currently distributed in this manner: 30 percent to local government units, 30 percent to the regional government and 40 percent to the national government.
A Bangsamoro political entity is being proposed to replace the ARMM under the framework agreement signed by the Philippine government and the MILF last October, which could potentially end the decades-old separatist insurgency in Mindanao.
On Saturday night, the Philippine government and the MILF reached an agreement on the controversial wealth-sharing annex of their peace pact during their latest round of talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
'Correct the flaws'
Income derived from fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas and coal, on the other hand, "will be shared equally between" the Bangsamoro government and the central government, the OPAPP added.
The Bangsamoro government will meanwhile have full control over “income derived from the operations of Bangsamoro government-owned and -controlled corporations, financial institutions, economic zones, and freeports operating therein," according to the OPAPP.
The political entity's government and its local government units will meanwhile split income from non-metallic minerals such as sand, gravel and quarry resources.
In an OPAPP statement, Philippine government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the wealth-sharing annex will "correct the flaws in the current fiscal system in the ARMM."
“We have a good package, one that we believe would make fiscal autonomy in the Bangsamoro a reality,” she said.
Coronel-Ferrer likewise said that both parties will now have to work on the annexes on power-sharing and normalization to complete the comprehensive agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government. — Andreo Calonzo/BM, GMA News