From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 24): Intergov't body to ensure smooth relations between central and Bangsamoro gov'ts
The intergovernmental relations (IGR) body between the future autonomous Bangsamoro government and central government will work out the ways and means that will harmonize the exercise of shared powers. This body shall promote the common goals of the Bangsamoro and Central government, said government chief negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.
“Maybe there is an assumption that interests or goals of the central government and Bangsamoro government are different, when in fact, for most parts, they have the same or shared interests. The Bangsamoro government can be a very cooperative government working with all the other government agencies,” Coronel-Ferrer said during the fourth regular committee hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which tackled the subject of trade in relation to the proposed law.
Coronel-Ferrer, during previous public hearings, underscored the role of the IGR body in helping the Bangsamoro government work in harmony with the central government and other local government units, especially on issues, policies, and exercise of powers “that [have impact] beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the future Bangsamoro government.”
Coverage of intergov’t relations body
According to the Bangsamoro bill, the IGR body will help the Bangsamoro government and the central government to coordinate with each other in the exercise of shared powers. Shared powers will be exercised in such areas as social security and pension; pollution control; penology; coast guard; customs and tariffs; funding for the maintenance of national roads, bridges, and irrigation systems; and public order and safety.
This intergovernmental mechanism is a key feature of the Bangsamoro Bill and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
A similar article on intergovernmental relations is found in the Local Government Code (LGC) which pertains to the relationship between the Central government and local governments in the exercise of the latter's devolved powers.
The power of general supervision of the President over the local governments and the Bangsamoro is reiterated in the LGC as well as in the draft BBL.
Bangsamoro Transition Commission chair Mohagher Iqbal affirmed the IGR body’s significance. He said the body is a distinct feature of the autonomy to be exercised by the future Bangsamoro, in comparison with that of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“In order to solve [problems in decision-making or exercise of powers] between the central government and the Bangsamoro government, the principle of continuing negotiations or continuing engagement is in place. And that is through the intergovernmental mechanism,” Iqbal said.
Composition of intergov’t relations body
According to the Bangsamoro Bill, the central government shall appoint a head to represent the central government. The Bangsamoro government shall be represented by a minister. The body shall be supported by a joint secretariat.
Article VI, section 4, of the Bangsamoro Bill, says that the “Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government shall establish a mechanism at the highest levels that will coordinate and harmonize their relationships. For this purpose, a primary mechanism shall be a Central Government – Bangsamoro Government Intergovernmental Relations Body to resolve issues on intergovernmental relations. All disputes and issues relating to these intergovernmental relations shall be resolved through regular consultations and continuing negotiations in a non-adversarial manner.”
On taxation and other fiscal matters, the draft law also provides for the creation of an Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board.
These IGR bodies shall exhaust all means to resolve all issues brought before them. Unresolved issues shall be elevated to the President of the Philippines, through the Bangsamoro government’s chief minister. (OPAPP)
South Cotabato (1st District) Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., one of the four committee vice chairs, said the consultations are scheduled on Thursday and Friday in four key cities in the region.
He said the committee, which will be led by its chair Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, will initially meet with various sectors in Cotabato City on Thursday, October 23.
Simultaneous consultations will be conducted on Friday, October 24, in Tacurong City for Sultan Kudarat residents; Koronadal City for those coming from South Cotabato province; and in this city for local residents and those from Sarangani Province.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Cotabato.
Acharon, who will lead the activities in this city, said the move is part of the committee’s efforts to fast track the passage of the BBL.
After this week’s schedule in Region 12, he said they will proceed to other key areas in Mindanao.
“There will be public consultations in all major urban centers in Mindanao,” Acharon told reporters.
The official said they are targeting to complete the public consultations by the end of November.
“We want it all done within November so we can proceed with the plenary deliberations and hopefully, its passage on third and final reading by mid-December,” he said.