House ratifies BBL PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 July 2018 17:29

By DEXTER YAP

Members of the House of Representatives has ratified  the bicameral conference committee report on the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao after the opening of the third regular session of the 17th Congress.

Congressman Celso Lobregat said that no House Member opposed the ratification during the session presided by Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya, Jr.

The solon said that the panel intended to have the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) presented to the House and the Senate on the day of the President’s State of the Nation Address. However, the motion to ratify was stalled due to the change in speakership.

Lobregat said that until its final day of deliberations, the conference committee ensured that the measure recognizes the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and that it remains constitutional.

As defined in the ratified BOL, those who were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands shall have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro.

Subject to a plebiscite, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall be composed of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, 39 barangays in North Cotabato, and the Cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

The Bangsamoro Government shall have authority over the administration of justice, budgeting, economic zones, industrial centers, and free ports, inland waters, power sector investments, and public works and infrastructure in the region, among others. However, all powers, functions, and responsibilities of the Bangsamoro Government not granted by the Constitution or the national law shall be vested in the national government.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall also enjoy fiscal autonomy, assuming control over its budget allocations in accordance with an annual appropriations law passed by the Parliament. It shall have the power to create its own sources of revenue and levy taxes, fees, and charges.

Taxes collected from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region shall be shared between the National Government (25 percent) and the Bangsamoro Government (75 percent). Apart from this, there shall be an annual block grant appropriated to the latter, which shall be the Bangsamoro Government’s share in the national internal revenue tax collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and collections of the Bureau of Customs.

The BOL also included provisions on sustainable development that ensures the protection and progress of the quality of life of the Bangsamoro people. The Parliament shall promote effective use of economic resources that facilitates human development and social justice.

Moreover, the Organic Law provides that the Bangsamoro Government shall receive funding support from the national government to augment efforts for the rehabilitation, reconstruction, and development of the

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that shall attend to the needs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)/Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)/Bangsamoro Armed Forces members as well as the internally displaced persons, widows and orphans, and poverty-stricken communities.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) shall be created as the interim government in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region throughout the transition period. This transition period shall conclude upon the dissolution of the BTA.  (Dexter Yap)