NEWS




8October
(IN PHOTO)- Former GPH Chief Negotiator, now Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen

ARMM Fiscal Autonomy and Block Grant in the Proposed Bangsamoro Government

Autonomy in real sense is a self - governing sub - state within the state having fiscal management and control as in the essence of self - governance.

Self-government is a system in which the citizens of state or regional governments for that matter rule themselves and control their own affairs, free from external government control or outside political authority.

In the proposed Bangsamoro government, the provisions of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) a concept that recognizes the " aspiration " of the Bangsamoro people towards real autonomy. The concept of asymmetrical relationship with the central government. Like the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Bangsamoro Government will continue to be under the general supervision of the president

Former Chair of GPH Peace Panel and now Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen, defined asymmetrical relationship as, " autonomous regions are granted more powers and less intervention from the national government. "

 In the case of ARMM on fiscal autonomy, regional government officials are required to defend their budget every year before congress just like any other line agencies, making the supposed autonomous region still dependent on the national government for funding. (here the concept of autonomy is defeated ).

And likewise, the President has the power to suspend, reduce, or cancel funding if the ARMM fails to account for the funds quarterly, the same thing with the Secretary of Finance, who has the power to suspend or cancel the release of any or all funds if more than half of the funds released remain unaccounted for 6 months after an audit is conducted.

While in the proposed Bangsamoro government, to make it superior Local Government Unit, more fiscally autonomous, the sharing of resources will be changed. It will be having a set - up similar to the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of Local Government Units (LGU) , where a set amount based on a formula is automatically appropriated every year. This will be called annual " Block Grant ", an amount that will be taken from the national government share in the total revenue collection.

The proposed paradigm presupposes the danger of pressure from the national government in the release of allotted funds that sometimes will lead to corruption. With safety nets on hand, the proposed Bangsamoro government will be granted the " full autonomy " in the truest sense and not a " moro moro " (word used by Filipino colonizers from Luzon that means: an initiative appeared to be true but not true or have no intention of doing it ).