• ‘BBL opens doors for federal govt’

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    The passage of the Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL) may result in constitutional changes that may lead to a shift to a federal system of government, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Chairman of the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL, said on Wednesday.

    The lawmaker noted that there is a need to decentralize government operations since most of the resources are confined within Manila and Luzon.

    “This is really opening up doors to what the other provinces have been aspiring for: the Federal Republic of the Philippines,” Rodriguez said.

    Under a federal system, the authorities will be divided between the national and local governments, giving the local governments more financial and political power to make and implement policies that they deem fit for their locality.

    The BBL creates a Bangsamoro Region which will be governed by the Bangsamoro parliament. The BBL also grants fiscal autonomy to the Bangsamoro Region and 58 exclusive powers to the Bangsamoro parliament, on top of its concurrent powers with the national government.

    The BBL also provides the Bangsamoro Region an annual block grant which is 2.4 percent of the national tax collection, a Special Development Fund worth P17 billion (P7 billion initially and P2 billion for the next five years) and a P1 billion transition fund for infrastructure construction and rehabilitation.

    “We should let the regions decide what is good for their region…let them retain the money they earn to fund social services,” Rodriguez told reporters.

    “Since the 1980s, we have been working for federalism because we believe that every region should be given the chance to decide on their destiny and address their problems without having to go to Manila,” he added.

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