The Bangsamoro government has appointed six of its key executive and legislative officials as members of a fiscal policy body tasked to address revenue imbalances and fluctuations in the financial needs and revenue-raising capacity of this new autonomous region.
This body–the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board (IFPB)–will also have members from the national government led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
The IFPB is co-chaired by Dominguez and BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim.
A report to Dominguez said the BARMM has also named to the IFPB Minister Abu Amri Taddik, Minister Naguib Sinarimbo, Deputy Speaker Hatamil Hassan, Engr. Mohajirin Ali, and Said Salendab.
For the national government, the other IFPB members are Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Secretary Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
In his report during a recent Department of Finance (DOF) Executive Committee (Execom) meeting, Jesus Nathaniel Gonzales of the DOF Legal Group said the representatives from the national government agreed that for easier coordination, a focal person should be appointed for each of the government agencies that are members of the IFPB.
“Last January 7, we met with the other members from the national government, and we discussed the draft terms of reference of the Board and the secretariat which we just patterned after the IGRB (National Government-Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations Body). And the national government representatives also agreed that each of the agencies shall appoint a focal person, so it’s easier to coordinate,” Gonzales said during the meeting,
Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin, who heads the Legal Group, said the first organizational meeting of the IFPB is scheduled in the third week of March.
Last December, the National Government-Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations Body (IGRB) held its inaugural meeting in Davao City.
This body is mandated to coordinate and resolve issues on intergovernmental relations between the national government and the BARMM through regular consultations and continuing negotiations in a non-adversarial manner.
Dominguez said the IGRB is a “major step forward” in realizing a substantial and functional autonomy for the new autonomous Muslim region, in step with President Duterte’s commitment to achieve just and lasting peace in Mindanao.
He expressed the hope that the new Bangsamoro autonomous region will “light up the pathway for rapid development” for the people of Mindanao, especially those from communities once torn by conflict.
An IGRB Joint Secretariat was formed during the body’s inaugural meeting. It is tasked to prepare and submit the meeting agenda, to document the proceedings of the meeting, to prepare the highlights of the meeting, and to handle all administrative requirements relative to the conduct of the meeting, the IGRB’s Terms of Reference (TOR) states.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) was designated as the joint secretariat of the IGRB.
The IGRB is tasked to exhaust all means to resolve issues brought before it, which include the effective implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) and the national programs and projects of the National Government in the BARMM.
It also aims to resolve territorial issues, and issues of devolution and jurisdiction; and the creation of the other intergovernmental relations mechanisms enumerated under the BOL.
Under the TOR, unresolved issues shall be elevated to the President, through the Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Government.
Even before the IGRB held its first meeting last December, the DOF had already organized a series of dialogues with BARMM officials and formed a technical working group (TWG) involving other government agencies to assist the officials of the new Bangsamoro government in running their economic agencies and crafting sound fiscal policies.