New guidelines approved for grants to Bangsamoro gov’t

Published March 10, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFPB) has approved the guidelines on the acceptance of foreign grants and donations by the Bangsamoro government, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Finance Undersecretary Bayani H. Agabin said the guidelines issued by the IFPB are similar to the protocols provided under the law that other government agencies have to follow when receiving grants or donations. 

IFPB was created under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to deal with revenue imbalances and fluctuations in the regional financial needs and revenue-raising capacity of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

(BARMM Bureau of Public Information / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The IFPB’s goal in issuing the guidelines was to streamline  the process for the Bangsamoro government in receiving grants and make it more efficient,” Agabin said in a statement on Tuesday, March 9.

Co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, the IFPB between the national and Bangsamoro governments approved the IFPB guidelines during its second meeting last February 5.

During the meeting, Dominguez and BARMM Public Works Minister Eduard Guerra, who was Ebrahim’s representative, agreed that the DOF should be informed by the Bangsamoro government when initiating talks with potential foreign donors.

By doing so, they said that the processing of grants can be done simultaneously with the national government. 

Under IFPB’s approved guidelines, the Bangsamoro government shall coordinate closely with the DOF prior to the negotiation and signing of foreign grants “to facilitate issuances of request for Office of the President (OP) Approval or Special Authority.”

Under the BOL, or Republic Act No. 11054, the BARMM shall enjoy fiscal autonomy, and have the power to create its sources of revenues as provided under this law.

The BOL also provides that the Bangsamoro government shall exercise authority over grants and loans, without prejudice to the general supervision of the President of the Philippines, and that its acceptance of foreign grants shall be subject to the prior clearance and approval by the President or his authorized representative.

The guidelines on foreign grants to the BARMM shall take effect 15 days following the filing of its three copies with the Office of the National Administrative Register (ONAR) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Law Center.