THE Senate will tackle issues on taxation and control of natural resources when it conducts the last hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on Tuesday.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Sunday said also to be discussed are the implications of the BBL on business, trade, finance, health and women issues.
“I have to call another hearing because many of our resource persons invited to our hearing on June 2 were not able to speak and provide us their inputs for lack of material time,” said Marcos, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government.
“We have to give them an opportunity to be heard too as the issues they will discuss are no less important than the previous ones we tackled,” he added.
After the hearing, Marcos said he will buckle down to the task of writing the committee report that will address flaws of the proposed Bangsamoro law.
In a hearing held on June 2, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares objected to tax privileges granted to the Bangsamoro regional government under the draft BBL. She said the Bangsamoro government will retain all taxes collected.
“If you read the law on sharing, everything we will collect from Bangsamoro will go to them, so what sharing do we have to discuss? Everything will go to them,” Henares told the committee.
Marcos noted that no local governments, including the poorest ones, enjoy such privilege. He said the Bangsamoro stands to get an estimated P75 billion in subsidy in grants, including a block grant of around P27 billion in 2016.
He, however, noted that because previous hearings centered mostly on police and security concerns, Henares and other resource persons did not have enough time to complete their testimonies.
Marcos said the hearing tomorrow will discuss concerns raised on jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro over inland waters, specifically the 350-square kilometer Lake Lanao that lies between Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, Lanao del Norte.
According to official data, the six hydroelectric dams built on the lake’s outlet, Agus River, produce 680 megawatts, estimated to supply more than 60 percent of the energy requirement of the entire Mindanao.
Marcos said the provision giving the Bangsamoro jurisdiction over major energy sources of Mindanao has serious security as well as business implications.
The senator added that he also wants to hear views of business leaders.
Marcos earlier said there was a dearth of study on economic impacts of the BBL.
Among those invited to the hearing were representatives from BIR; Budget, Finance and Trade and Industry departments; National Economic and Development Authority; Commission on Audit; Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; and Mindanao Development Authority.
Officials of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Philippine Industries Inc. were also invited to the hearing, as well as representatives from the Department of Health and the women’s sector, like the Women and Gender Institute and the Philippine Commission on Women.
Marcos earlier said he could not support the draft BBL because it is riddled with flaws and could only cause more trouble for the entire country.
He added that he is preparing a substitute bill that will pass constitutional challenge, address the concern of major stakeholders and work toward achieving lasting peace in Mindanao.