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Economic provisions in BBL just enough – GPH panel member August 29, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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From the Website of OPPAP
links: http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/economic-provisions-bbl-just-enough-%E2%80%93-gph-panel-member

Economic provisions in BBL just enough – GPH panel member

Manila – Government of the Philippines peace panel member Senen C. Bacani today defended the formula for the annual block grant of the Bangsamoro as proposed in the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), saying the amount involved is comparable to what the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is currently receiving.

According to Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., chair of the committee on local government,  the “[the annual block grant] as it is proposed in the Bangsamoro Basic Law is a good one but I left it in so that we could discuss it thoroughly in public…”

According to the draft of the BBL, the formula for the annual block grant is 4% of the net national internal revenue collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue less the internal revenue allocation of local government units. The bill also stipulates that the computation should be based from the actual collections from the third fiscal year preceding the current fiscal year.

Marcos commented that the formula seemed “to have been snatched from thin air.”

Bacani defended the formula for the annual block grant, commenting that the four (4) percent used in the formula is an approximation of what the ARMM currently receives. For the current fiscal year, 25.2 billion is the subsidy of the national government to the ARMM. Using the formula in the proposed BBL, the Bangsamoro  government can expect to receive 27 billion for its initial year of operation, just a slight increase from its current budget of 25.2 billion.

The former agriculture secretary added that the increase, coupled with the other revenue generation and wealth-sharing arrangements, was “just enough for the Bangsamoro to provide basic social services and to catch-up with the rest of the country.”

“The formula was based on a thorough review of the current and anticipated requirements of the region, and takes into account the fact that the region will be responsible for financing the salaries of teachers and health workers, among others,” said Bacani.
The government peace panel member noted that unlike in the rest of the country that is served by the Department of Education, the  cost of public primary and secondary education is shouldered by the autonomous region, along with the delivery of all other devolved social and economic functions.

Special Development Fund, power to contract loans scrapped

Among the numerous stipulations removed by Senator Marcos is the Bangsamoro provision for a Special Development Fund (SDF).

According to the original version of the BBL drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), a total of P17 billion pesos will be released by the national government to the Bangsamoro “for rehabilitation and development purposes”.

Of this amount, P7 billion will be released following the ratification of the law while the remaining P10 billion will be paid out over five years at the rate of P2 billion per year. Part of the SDF was supposed to finance a women’s peace fund “in support of gender as a cross-cutting concern.”‎ The SDF demonstrates the Philippine government’s commitment to fund the rehabilitation and development of the Bangsamoro and can be used as counterpart funds for grants coming from donor institutions or countries. This leveraging can result to 3 or 4 times more than the amount in the SDF thus maximizing the benefit to the country.

Another provision deleted by Marcos was the Bangsamoro’s power to contract loans, credits, and other forms of indebtedness.

Bacani said, however, that local governments already have the authority to contract domestic loans on their own, including foreign or non-peso denominated loans with the approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

He commented that should be clarified by the lawmakers as contracting loans is an essential part of fiscal management.

“Contracting indebtedness is being done all over the world by all kinds of entities and enterprises. Loaning does not automatically mean you are losing money. For instance, the Philippines as a country is both a creditor and a debtor. It is just a means to manage fiscal responsibilities,” Bacani explained.

The former agriculture secretary added that “the purpose of the SDF is for the immediate takeoff of the Bangsamoro, and the loans may come handy in generating economic activity especially during the autonomous government’s initial years.”

In his sponsorship speech on the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) filed as Senate Bill No. 2894, Senator Marcos failed to provide an explanation on why the aforementioned fiscal provisions have been deleted.

Bangsamoro’s power on economic zones undermined

Republic Act No. 9054, the implementing law of the ARMM, allows for the establishment of a Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) tasked to “encourage, promote, and support the establishment of economic zones, industrial centers, ports in strategic areas, and growth centers to attract local and foreign investments and business enterprises.”

The ARMM implementing law also clearly stipulates that once the REZA is created, “the Philippine Export Zone Authority shall no longer authorize any other economic zone within the autonomous region” and that “any corporation, firm, or entity established within the autonomous region… be placed under the jurisdiction of the REZA.”

However, Bacani noted that the Senate substitute bill now stipulated that the Bangsamoro government must apply with the PEZA before it is able to establish economic zones, industrial estates, and free ports.###

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Economic provisions in BBL just enough – GPH panel member August 29, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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House Makabayan block not amenable to Marcos’ substitute bill

House Makabayan block not amenable to Marcos’ substitute bill

On Monday, August 23, Rep. Karlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna partylist warned against passing a version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would not adhere to the provisions of the peace agreements signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

He said that passing the BBL just so President Benigno S. Aquino III could cite a legacy of his administration will not address the root cause of the long-standing Moro unrest.

“What’s the use of passing a law that cannot solve the problem?” he said.

He said the substitute bills filed in the Senate and even in the House of Representatives had excluded several provisions in the original draft, which is a result of the 17-year negotiation between the government and MILF peace panels.

The MILF cannot accept a version of the BBL with provisions that are only 50-percent compliant to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), he said.

He said it is doubtful the BBL could be passed before Aquino leaves office, as most lawmakers will be “busy” after filing the certificate of candidacies in October.

Zarate said it will be difficult to muster a quorum as the election period draws near. He cited that no sessions were held in the past days due to lack of quorum.

Since July 17 when Congress resumed its sessions, only two lawmakers were able to interpellate the BBL in the plenary with 28 items still up for deliberation.

“If and when the interpellation of the BBL resumes, more congressmen will attempt to dilute it further, for example, the provisions on the control of resources,” Zarate said.

He said the substitute bill filed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has failed to live up to the provisions of the CAB and FAB.

He said Marcos’ bill rejected the “request of the MILF to reconsider the provisions that have been omitted” from the original draft. He called Marcos’ version of the BBL less than the existing Republic Act 9504, which amended RA 6734, the law creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Zarate said the Makabayan bloc in Congress is not amenable to Marcos’ substitute bill as it will not provide a long-term solution to the conflict.

He warned that passing a version of the BBL that would fail to address the problem will only result in more problems.

He cited, for instance, the Final Peace Agreement entered into by the government and the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996.

He said the next administration should also honor the CAB and the FAB or risk losing credibility in the international community.

“An agreement must always be respected,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

MILF Website

http://www.luwaran.com/

Article links:

http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/new/item/545-house-makabayan-block-not-amenable-to-marcos-substitute-bill

BANGSAMORO FRAMEFORK

http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/welcome/item/787-gph-to-grant-amnesty-to-milf-rebels

BBL AND BTC

http://www.hdcentre.org/uploads/tx_news/A-primer-on-the-Bangsamoro-Transition-Commission-and-the-Bangsamoro-Basic-Law.pdf

http://www.opapp.gov.ph/sites/default/files/House%20Bill%20No.%204994.pdf

http://www.opapp.gov.ph/resources/house-bill-no-4994

OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTIONS WEBSITES

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BBL remains top priority of Aquino administration August 15, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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From the Website of OPPAP
links: http://www.opapp.gov.ph/milf/news/gov%E2%80%99t-welcomes-marcos-sponsorship-bbl-sets-record-straight-issues

Gov’t welcomes Marcos sponsorship of BBL, sets record straight on issues

MANILA – Both the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the government panel that negotiated the peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today said they welcome Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s sponsorship of his version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Senate.

At the same time, the OPAPP and the government peace panel took the opportunity to clarify several issues raised by the senator in his sponsorship speech of the BBL, where he emphasized the importance of inclusiveness and raised several questions regarding the Bangsamoro peace process.

“Certainly we welcome this development in the Senate, especially because it means the plenary debates in the upper house (of Congress) will begin at last,” government negotiating panel chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said.

OPAPP Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles echoed Ferrer’s sentiment, saying that “we are happy because the Senate is finally catching up with the House of Representatives in terms of this process, and because we are another step closer to the passage of the BBL.”

Inclusivity of BBL

Ferrer said the government panel also lauds the efforts of Sen. Marcos to make his substitute bill even more inclusive, noting that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement that served as the basis of the proposed legislation, was already the product of more than 550 consultations done by the OPAPP, in addition to consultations also done by the MILF panel. Aside from this, according to Ferrer, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which drafted the bill, and both chambers of Congress have also conducted their respective consultations.

While more than 550 consultations were done by the OPAPP, the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL held 51 public hearings and consultations while its counterpart in the Senate, chaired by Sen. Marcos, conducted 12 public hearings and one briefing.

“The BBL also has numerous provisions to ensure inclusiveness, especially in terms of guaranteeing the rights and encouraging the participation of sectors like women, indigenous peoples, and so on. This, in addition to the number of consultations we made, shows that the BBL is inclusive both procedurally and substantively,” Ferrer noted.

Ferrer emphasized that, from the start, the original draft of the BBL already conceived the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to be inclusive and multi-sectoral. Article XVI, Section 2 of the original BBL draft states that “the BTA shall be composed of fifty (50) members, all of whom shall be appointed by the President; provided that, non-Moro indigenous communities, women, settler communities and other sectors shall have representatives in the BTA. Nominations may be submitted to the office of the President for this purpose.”

The BTA shall be the interim government or the governing body in the Bangsamoro during the transition period from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Transparency

Deles, for her part, said that the entirety of the process leading to the crafting of the BBL has always been open and transparent.

“The processes we went through were really open and transparent,” Deles stressed. “Not many people were very interested in the peace process then, but those who have always been closely monitoring its progress would recall that we always have media sessions after the talks to update the public on the state of the process.”

In recognition of the crucial role of Congress in the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace pact, Deles said that several lawmakers were invited to join during the conduct of the peace talks in Malaysia. Among others who participated were Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III.

At the same time, consultations and briefings with members of both chambers of Congress were also done while peace negotiations were ongoing. In the Senate, said meetings were  convened by the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation and were attended among others by Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II, Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV, and then Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

As for Malaysia’s involvement in the peace process, Deles stressed that Malaysia has been the third-party facilitator in the peace process  that started during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, with the Philippine government asking Malaysia to participate as an impartial third-party facilitator.###

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Marcos report is a “progress” but BTC still appeals for a BBL that is faithful to signed agreements August 15, 2015

Posted by HERBERT CURIA in PEACE TALK UPDATES.
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From the Website of MILF
links: http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/new/item/523-marcos-report-is-a-progress-but-btc-still-appeals-for-a-bbl-that-is-faithful-to-signed-agreements


Marcos report is a “progress” but BTC still appeals for a BBL that is faithful to signed agreements

Marcos report is a “progress” but BTC still appeals for a BBL that is faithful to signed agreements

Manila – The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) sees the substitute bill sponsored on Tuesday (August 12) by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as a “progress” as the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can now be debated in the Senate plenary level.

The BTC however still stands pat with the resolution it adopted on July 29, 2015 that the original form of the BBL is the “most appropriate version” since the provisions of the same are consistent with the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

Labeled as Senate Bill No. 2894, the substitute bill appears to have numerous modifications and even deletions of substantial provisions contained in the original draft BBL filed as Senate Bill No. 2408.

In his media pronouncements, Sen. Marcos said that around 80% of the original BBL was amended. True enough, Senate Bill No. 2894 appears to be as such.

Inclusive

While the Commission understands the desire of Sen. Marcos for wanting a BBL that is inclusive and all-embracing, yet it does not agree with the senator’s statement that discussions on the BBL and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) were done in “secret meetings in hotel rooms, far away places.”

“The negotiations took 17 years, witnessed by international bodies. During the crafting of the BBL we reached as far as Tawi-tawi, partnered with CSOs in conducting consultations with the public and foreign and local experts on different subject matters,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the BTC.

More work, continuous dialogue

“At least the speculations over the Marcos report are now over and we can now do more work,” Iqbal added. Despite the significant changes in the House and Senate versions, the BTC remains optimistic that changes in the substitute bills can be introduced during the period of amendments. Iqbal said that the BTC will “continue to work and engage with the lawmakers as continuous dialogue is the best option.”

Senate deliberations on SB 2894 are expected next week while interpellations on House Bill No. 5811 has not yet resumed. ###

BANGSAMORO FRAMEFORK

http://www.luwaran.com/index.php/welcome/item/787-gph-to-grant-amnesty-to-milf-rebels

BBL AND BTC

http://www.hdcentre.org/uploads/tx_news/A-primer-on-the-Bangsamoro-Transition-Commission-and-the-Bangsamoro-Basic-Law.pdf

http://www.opapp.gov.ph/sites/default/files/House%20Bill%20No.%204994.pdf

http://www.opapp.gov.ph/resources/house-bill-no-4994

OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS PROMOTIONS WEBSITES

Human Rights Advocacy Promotions | Human Rights 

Human Rights Promotions

http://www.humanrightspromotions.co.nr


PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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