By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said Malacañang should include fiscal experts in the consultative committee that would review proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Angara said this is to address the question of resource sharing and taxing jurisdictions. “We have to make sure that our fiscal policies are aligned.”
“The inclusion of an expert on the subject matter in the consultative body will ensure that the contentious issues on fiscal autonomy are reconciled,” he stressed.
As it is, the senator said there are fiscal provisions in the proposed BBL that need to be clarified vis-à-vis the functions and powers of the national government.
Removing the uncertainties on jurisdiction will make Mindanao an investment destination and augur well for a smooth transition.
“With the inclusion of an expert on wealth-sharing and fiscal policy in the consultative committee, hopefully we can resolve major issues and come up with a BBL that is acceptable to the people, veto-proof and TRO (temporary restraining order)-proof,” Angara said.
“We will need to go deep into the details and make sure the fiscal autonomy and revenue sharing stipulations in the BBL are clear,” he added.
President Duterte earlier created a 19-member Charter change (Cha-cha) consultative committee led by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno to review the Constitution and come up with recommendations which the Chief Executive will submit to Congress for consideration.
Senators are eyeing the creation of a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR), stipulated under the proposed BBL, as a starting point for the government’s plan to pursue Charter change as it prepares to shift to federalism.
Angara, along with some members of the Senate, last week visited the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga as part of the Senate sub-committee’s “listening tour” to get the stakeholders’ inputs in drafting the final version of the measure.
The sub-committee also met with stakeholders in Cotabato and Marawi City.