Bangsamoro officials get briefing on fiscal matters
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Finance officials have conducted a series of meetings with representatives of the Bangsamoro government to guide them on various aspects of fiscal and budget management, the Department of Finance (DOF) said over the weekend.

The DOF said the meetings were conducted particularly to brief officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on how to organize and manage its own Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management (MFBM).

The first meeting, which was held last Aug. 16, focused on the discussions regarding the DOF’s set up and functions, as well as its attached agencies.

Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin said the briefing was conducted to help the MFBM determine which aspects of the DOF’s structure it can adopt and which functions it would want assistance with.

During the meeting, the DOF presented possible organizational set-ups covering the MFBM and other offices, such as the ministries for treasury, internal revenue, legal affairs service, and internal audit.

“Another meeting was hosted by the DOF last Aug. 23 with representatives of the Asian Development Bank to formulate technical capacity building framework for BARMM officials in the areas of budget process, revenue generation, and management and planning,” Finance Assistant Secretary Teresa Habitan said.

Furthermore, the DOF said officials from the Bureau of Local Government Finance and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently presented to BARMM officials an overview of the functions and operations of the customs and local finance bureaus.

According to Habitan, the next meeting with the BARMM will be attended by representatives from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and will focus on taxable elements, the taxing power of the Bangsamoro government, and the disposition of assets.

The DOF co-chairs with the MFBM the Intergovernmental Fiscal Policy Board, which is designed to address revenue imbalances and fluctuation in the regional financial needs and revenue-raising capacity of the BARMM government.

Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez instructed finance officials to assist the BARMM government on how to properly manage their funds to ensure the long-term fiscal stability of this new region.

In line with this, Finance undersecretary Gil Beltran and Agabin formed a technical working group, which comprises of representatives from the Department of Budget and Management, BOC, BIR, BLGF, and the Commission on Audit.

Dominguez also told Beltran to tap the Philippine Tax Academy to help educate Bangsamoro officials on fiscal management, financial planning and budget-related matters.

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