By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) has begun the process of forming a technical working group (TWG) with other national government agencies to assist officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in initially running the region’s economic departments and crafting sound policies.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran and Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin held their first meeting with Minister Eduard Guerra of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management last Thursday to firm up the details on the TWG.
Agabin said to help set up BARMM’s finance, budget and management department, the DOF would draw up its table of organization, list down the functions of its offices and adopt government the structure suitable for its system of government.
The TWG also includes representatives from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM); Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF); and the Commission on Audit (COA).
“They agreed that the DOF will give a briefing on the structure (of the finance and budget department) so that they can properly set up their own structure. We’ll help them interface with the other departments as well,” Agabin said.
Beltran said the DOF will also “design more briefings” on BARMM’s areas of interest in connection with fiscal management, budget management and financial planning.
It was also agreed in the meeting that DOF and the Bangsamoro government will work together in setting up an Islamic Bank within the new autonomous region, as part of government initiatives to encourage investments and expand financial services to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.
The DOF co-chairs with the BARMM minister of budget, finance and management the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IGBF), which is designed to address revenue imbalances and fluctuations in the regional financial needs and revenue-raising capacity of the BARMM government.