Access Bangsamoro proposes some recommendations for the implementation of the BARMM Block Grant

In October 2019, Access Bangsamoro Project Team invited representatives from National Government Agencies particularly the DBM, DOF, and DILG, and former senior government officials and public finance experts for a roundtable discussion on the implementation of the Block Grant provision of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The discussion sought to provide venue among the NGAs to generate ideas for the implementation and operationalization of the Block Grant provision and solicit from finance experts their viewpoints on the subject. As an output of the discussion and the continuing research of the team, Access Bangsamoro came up with a policy brief containing its humble recommendations for the implementation of the block grant.

From the policy brief, it was stated that “block grant is a form of an intergovernmental fund transfer.” While fund transfers are not a new financing mechanism in the country, the provision of a block grant by the national government to an autonomous region is a new system. As such, new guidelines and implementing rules are needed to ensure the proper and effective implementation of the Block Grant provision. However, there remains a gap between the right of the BARMM to self-determination and fiscal autonomy on the one hand, and the express provision in the BOL that block grant is to be governed by the rules and regulations of the DBM and DILG, on the other.

To harmonize these seemingly confusing provisions, the Access Bangsamoro humbly recommends that the National Government Agencies to consider the following actions:

  1. Evaluate existing rules and regulations that may be applicable in the implementation of the block grant;
  2. Create an inter-agency coordinating body pending the formal constitution of Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board;
  3. Immediate constitution of the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board and Secretariat;
  4. Setting up of certain performance standards and targets for each sector covered by the block grant;
  5. Alignment of the performance targets with the Regional Development Plan of the BARMM and the over-call National Development Goals;
  6. Adherence to the priority measures on education, health, and social services in allocating the Block Grant.

To access the full policy brief, click here.

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