Final Senate BBL hearing: Tax issues, natural resources

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Final Senate BBL hearing: Tax issues, natural resources

Mark Fredesjed R. Cristino

Senator Bongbong Marcos says the additional hearing will give opportunity for resource persons to speak about issues that 'are no less important' than others

MANILA, Philippines – The last Senate committee hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on Tuesday, June 9, is set to tackle the issues of taxation and control and management of natural resources within the proposed territory, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Sunday, June 7.  

According to Marcos, the additional hearing was set to give opportunity for invited resource persons last June 2 to talk as the issues they will tackle “are no less important” than others. (READ: How different is ARMM from the Bangsamoro?)

Last week, after what was supposedly the final hearing on the proposed law, Marcos said that he would write a new version of the bill, thereby rejecting the bill submitted to Congress.

“Unfortunately, the BBL in its present form and substance will not bring us any closer to peace,” said the senator.  At least 12 senators, Marcos included, have signed a committee report that found the proposed measure unconsititional. (READ: 4 scenarios if Bangsamoro bill is not passed)

Tax issues, natural resources 

Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares during the June 2 hearing expressed objection over the proposed tax privileges granted by the draft BBL to the Bangsamoro regional government.

Under the proposed law, the Bangsamoro government would retain all taxes collected which Marcos noted that no other local government enjoys.

The hearing will also discuss concerns regarding the provisions on the jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro over inland waters, specifically the 350 square kilometre Lake Lanao between Lanao del Sur and Marawi City.

Giving the Bangsamoro power over the major energy source of Mindanao may have “possible conflict” with the constitution and serious security and business implications, according to the Senator.

The 6 hydroelectric dams built on the lake’s outlet, Agus River, supply more than 60% of Mindanao’s energy requirement.

Aside from taxation and resources control, the hearing aims to talk about the implications of the proposed law on business, and trade, finance, health and women issues. – 

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