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The purpose of the meeting was to hear the stand and concerns of the different agencies on the BBL, and to determine the role that they will be playing with respect to the new Bangsamoro government.


See attendance.


The pertinent issues that were discussed in the meeting are as follows:

• Power-sharing regarding energy production and distribution

• Role and jurisdiction of the agencies in the BBL, especially that of MinDA

• Absence or insufficiency of consultations with the agencies

• Ownership of property outside of the Bangsamoro territory

• Harmonizing of BBL and existing laws (e.g. Food and Drugs Act; laws on the creation of free ports; laws on the collection of excise tax, customs duties, national tax)


Agency presentation






Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA)

Supports the BBL

Lake Lanao power sharing

Role of MinDA in BBL

Will submit position paper

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)

Supports Bangsamoro Development Board and the Bangsamoro representation in NEDA


Will submit position paper

Mindanao Business Council

Supports the BBL


Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

Supports BBL

Sec. 3, par. 6—

Re: registration of business names. The project name “Phil. Business Registry” was used. This may not be entirely correct. The use of this project name may become obsolete. We suggest to use the name National Registry of Business Names instead.

Sec. 25— On counter trade. For goods to be consumed within Bangsamoro, we must comply with mandatory product standards. But must also add compliance with Intellectual Property Law.

Will submit position paper

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)

Supports BBL

Reserved powers of the DFA

Will submit position paper

Southern Philippines Development Authority (SPDA)

Supports BBL

Silence of the law on GOCCs

Properties beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro

Will submit position paper


Main discussion





Antonino: What is the power sharing in Lake Lanao? Who will control?

Ferrer: There is a distinction between Lake Lanao as a resource, and as a source of energy. In terms of resources, the right to exploit and protect lies with the LGUs. As to it being a source of energy, there are items in the BBL on power generation.


Antonino: I’m concerned about the protocol (e.g. how much water is released). Who controls the protocol? The national government or the Bangsamoro government? Because there are now two entities, there is a possibility of conflict or a war over water. If we should be clear that the protocol be controlled by the national government, then I would not have issues

Ferrer: (Refer to Art. 5 on Powers of the Bangsamoro gov’t) Bangsamoro will regulate power generation exclusively operating within the Bangsamoro. It shall also promote investment in power within (the area). The intent of the BBL is to address the lack of power supply. They shall be able to interconnect and supply power, sell this to other distributors via the national transmission grid. Bangsamoro may assist electric coops. The central gov’t and Bangsamoro shall coordinate through the Inter-governmental Relations Mechanism.  We should not assume that the relationship is hostile. We can have cooperative working between agencies.

Tejada: What if too much power can be generated within the Bangsamoro, then this will deprive other areas of the country.

*Antonino was shaking her head while Ferrer was reading from the BBL

Tejada: This is a question on supervision, control and jurisdiction. This is not stated in the BBL. Will power still be under control of ERC?

Ferrer: Private entities will be regulated by commercial laws that apply to all commercial enterprises. They are dictated by market conditions. There is flexibility. They will not necessarily put up their own NEA or ERC. Control over electric coops is by relevant gov’t agencies.


Rodriguez: Does ERC have authority over the Bangsamoro on fixing the prices of power

Ferrer: We imagine that…

Ferrer: This should be addressed by the Inter-governmental Relations Mechanism, addressing matters that cross over to national concerns. It will be a harmonious relationship that will benefit all consumers.

Lobregat: We should not imagine. We are in a hearing.

Medalla: (speaking on personal capacity as an economist) On the matter of water, the literature is very clear. When water is scarce, some uses may prevent other uses. These are conflicting interests. For example, the Angat water level is insufficient and cannot be used to generate power. The moment water becomes scarce, it may have conflicting (priority of) uses, because water travels between areas. The solution is the creation of a Water Resource Board to ensure supply to the higher priority user. This must be addressed by the law.


Lobregat: *We are for Peace spiel* We are for peace and we want the BBL to be fair. Whenever we raise concerns, it is because we want to clear any ambiguities. Eventually we need to pass a law that can pass legal scrutiny. We are not anti-peace.

Mindanao usually has lower water rates coming from Lake Lanao and Agus 1 (located inside Bangsamoro), Agus 2 located in Lanao del Sur. We have experienced brown outs because of lack of water. On provisions on exclusive powers of Bangsamoro, (No. 15)- Bangsamoro shall have power to regulate power generation and transmission for those operating within the Bangsamoro. Otherwise, it is through the Inter-governmental Relations Mechanism. The question is, who will decide?

On #16. In terms of electricity and power, the entire Mindanao will be under the mercy of the Bangsamoro.

DOE was not consulted by OPAPP; according to Secretary Petilla he was consulted on other matters but not regarding the use of thee lakes and electricity. ERC is not aware of the provisions of the BBL. In times of emergency, fast decisions should be made. The people cannot wait while an intergovernmental body discusses the issue. Only one should decide and that is the president. The Bangsamoro law affects not only the people within the Bangsamoro, but the whole of Mindanao.

Ferrer: In case of a national power crisis, the emergency powers of the President trumps the intergovernmental body. The powers of the President will not be constrained in order to address critical situations. In the BBL we assume normal times. In abnormal times, we look to what is stated in the Constitution.

Re: provision on water supplies (Sec. 3 No. 53 Art 5). (Reads the provision) There shall be cooperation and coordination between the national agencies and Bangsamoro.

Lobregat: That provision talks about cooperation and coordination. But there should only be one body. One body should decide and have sole jurisdiction.

*Antonino nods in agreement with Lobregat’s statements

Medalla: Peace in the country would mean investments. In Mindanao, investors want higher returns to compensate for the risks. Sometimes, the devil is in the details. Give the water rights to Bangsamoro, and if you want (to use) it, you must pay for it. We can toy with this idea. There are ways to arrange it, but the sooner this is arranged the better. It should be done now. I think what Hon. Lobregat wants us to do is to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It’s a question of what belongs to whom, and who pays for what. There was a similar conflict between Singapore and Malaysia on water. The sooner this is addressed, the better. What is needed is trust.

My only objection is the Audit. There will be two auditors COA and Bangsamoro COA. On paper, this may look good, but this can backfire. “Mag-aasahan”. People will not want to answer to auditors twice. Otherwise, BBL should state well-defined powers.

Other provisions are okay. The block grant is a good idea. The provisions are clear. If we compensate the Bangsamor well for their share, maybe they’ll give up the water. *laughs* To whom the property belongs the, the other must pay the price to use it.

Preferably, a Board should be created to have accountability, so that not only one person is accountable. It is better to establish this now before conflict arises.

Lobregat: The lake belongs to the State. (Cites Art. 12, Sec. 2 of the Constitution). But there’s no problem. We can pay. For IPPs located in a particular community, 1% goes to the host community. We do not want to be surprised later on. Congress must decide on this now. (Whether ERC must regulate in the Bangsamoro). Another solution is a pending bill creating the Mindanao Power Corporation (MPow). I am worried about ‘exclusive jurisdiction’. Take out these terms, and there will be no problem at all.


Lao: I respectfully disagree with Medalla about raising the amount just to compensate. That will increase the cost of business in Mindanao. The Mindanao grid is not connected to the national grid. It is sad to know that this has been abused in the past by the national gov’t who is in charge of it. Should have been properly monitored. The solution is the creation of a Mindanao Power Corporation that will control the grid in Mindanao. In the event of excess power, it can coordinate with the national grid and sell power to Luzon. But it must be controlled by someone with the interest of the people of Mindanao in mind. “Baka maubos ang Agus and Pulangi”. We want to protect what little resource is left. This has to be done with the help of everybody.


Lobregat: SPDA (Sec. 30 Article on Fiscal Autonomy). Development Bank said they own Al Amanah Bank. The answer of the panel was “This is just a proposal”. But there are two panels – The gov’t panel and the MILF. This must be clarified.

There is no problem with the intention to transfer of SPDA properties within the Bangsamoro, but what about properties outside of the Bangsamoro? There is so much (SPDA) property located in Zamboanga City, in Misamis, even in Cagayan de Oro City, etc. Why should Bangsamoro extend outside? This is not for theInter-governmental Relations Mechanismto decide. Congress must decide.

SPDA’s coverage is the entire Mindanao. The same coverage as MinDA. It was created by law RA 996. What are your powers and mandates Sec. Antonino? Will the Bangsamoro be part of your mandate?

Ferrer: We don’t see any conflict between powers of MinDA and other gov’t entities. Their functions are duly delineated. There is no conflict.

Bacani: Re: Section on SPDA (Sec. 30 page 70) and Al Amanah Bank. There will be no automatic transfer of these two entities to Bangsamoro. The Inter-governmental Relations Mechanism will determine their percentage of participation. IF there is a need to further clarify, we leaveit to the discretion of Congress.









Antonino: (Reads MinDA’s mandate) The law must be clear as to where MinDA comes in; what is MinDA’s role. My office is hesitant to meddle if a problem arises because we do not know when to step in.

Rodriguez: On the issue of the Bangsamoro owning properties outside of their territory, we can look at the dual personality of the LGU. As provided for in the Local Government Code, LGUs have proprietary roles, meaning they can own property outside there area. LGUs have both governmental and proprietary functions.



Lobregat: (to Antonino) Were you consulted? If so, what is the manner of consultation?

Antonino: There was no consultation. There was only a cabinet presentation, and a follow Technical Working Group, but there was no discussion as to the specific role of our office. We reserved our comments then because our office wanted to conduct further study of the bill.

Lobregat: This is just the point I was trying to make. They are consultations after the fact.


Lobregat: Let us not be surprised if there are two panels talking. This must be put in the law now. We don’t want surprises later on. We don’t want “Depende sa pag-uusap ng Inter-governmental Relations Mechanism”.

Deles: Let it be clear that the panel for the peace negotiations between the national government and the MILF is closed. The discussion now will be between the government and the Bangsamoro BTA. It is a government discussion. When BTA is already legally constituted, that is the time for the discussion. It is a discussion between two levels of government.


Lobregat: Let’s look from the point of view of all other LGUs. Can we have an inventory – a listing of all these properties so we know. (Sec 9) provides for inventory to ensure that all liabilities will be settled prior to the transfer. What liabilities are going to be assumed by the National Gov’t? This will be paid for by people from the entire country. We need a listing of these liabilities and assets.

How much appropriation has been put into the ARMM, compared with other LGUs on a budget per region basis?

I request a copy of appropriations for the past 10 years, broken down per region per capita.

Antonino: Only in President Aquino’s time Mindanao is getting a big share of the budget. In 2 years in his administration, Mindanao had a bigger growth rate than the rest of the country. The share of Mindanao in the budget was raised per capita. When Gov. Hataman sat down, he discovered all the ghost projects in ARMM -- ghost schools, hospitals, etc. The entire Mindanao has been deprived of the correct budget. DPWH in the past was not allowed to implement infra projects within the ARMM. But as MinDA chair, I have convinced Sec. Singson and the President that the National Gov’t can implement projects within the ARMM. Mindanao had an increase in budget by 33.6% during the Aquino govt.

The Secretariat is directed to request from ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman a listing of properties of the ARMM.

MinDA will submit a copy of appropriations for the past 10 years, broken down per region per capita.

Lobregat: On Sec. 25 – manufacture and distribution of food and drinks, what is the rationale and possible implication?

Bacani: This is more about the distribution of haram foods. There should be more flexibility on the regulation of haram goods. This was based on RA 9054 - The regional assembly shall maintain a food regulatory system.

Lobregat: As enshrined in the constitution, there is a legal basis for the FDA, and other related laws (RA 3720, 6675, 8203) on counterfeit drugs, RA 7394 – the Consumer Act, registration of food and drugs, etc. The constitutional provisions (Art 2 Sec 13, Art 13 Sec 12). There are many implications of BBL on these provisions, e.g. on tobacco regulation. We should not be rash in deliberating for the passing of this bill. We should comply with existing national laws. We cannot just give exclusive powers. We should combine existing powers and laws.

It seems like we’re rushing the law.

Hataman: We are not rushing the law.

Ferrer: These powers have already been devolved under RA 9054. But it doesn’t mean that Bangsamoro will have lower standards. It does not amend any of the national laws.

Lobregat: RA 9054 has been challenged in the Supreme Court several times. The Supreme Court has ruled that many provisions in RA 9054 was unconstitutional. If you are going to revise RA 9054, you should follow the threshold – we should have a plebiscite on “Do you agree to amend RA 9054?”

Deles: We are proposing to repeal, not amend. The law will not be put into effect without a plebiscite.

Ferrer: The law was passed by congress. It is clarified that the new bill is meant to repeal the Act.

Oaminal: Congress is the one proposing an amendment, not our resource speakers. They are here to guide as accordingly.

Rodriguez: Repeal is a completely different process. The Philippine Constitution cannot be repealed. In the case of just a law, it will not follow the provision of the law you are repealing. We will have a plebiscite to determine the will of the people. The law was crafted to have more meaningful and genuine development.

This is just a law, not a constitution. There is only one constitution – the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

Lobregat: Repealing is worse than amending. It needs 2/3 votes of Congress to amend. There is a ruling by the Supreme Court. You are violating RA 9054. There is an existing organic act (ARMM). With respect to RA 9054, just like the constitution, there is a process to amend it.

Lobregat: Then that means we can do the same for the constitution. The Organic Act is a constitution of the ARMM, not amendable by simple majority 2/3 vote.

Lobregat: But the organic act is the constitution of the ARMM.

Nuño: Hon. Lobregat has already raised my concern about the SPDA properties outside of Bangsamoro.


Sema: It has been us, the Bangsamoro, who been deprived of development projects. I don’t think it’s fair. We should also ask MinDA how much money is being poured in the National Police, the AFP for insurgency measures. You will be the first to benefit when this bill is passed. You (gesturing especially towards Lobregat’s direction) should walk the talk.


There seems to be a lot of tension. Lobregat came over and shook hands with Sema after she made her manifestation.

Antonino: I offered MinDA’s help to Iqbal. When Gov. Mujiv Hataman sat down in office, he began from scratch. I told him about the potentials of ARMM – the western corridor. There must be coordination because it is near Socsargen – a fast growing area. We need to be in sync with the plans of the Bangsamoro.

Deles: MinDA has been invited in drafting the Bangsamoro development plan process.


Oaminal: (to Antonino) What area of the BBL needs to be specified in relation to the authority of MinDA?

Antonino: Regarding the coordination of MinDA and the new Bangsamoro government. If it is self-rule, is MinDA still welcome to make suggestions? We are willing to assist.

MinDA is requested to submit a proposal on the nature of coordination of personalities and its role in the BBL.

Oaminal: (to Lao) What do we need to amend or revise in the BBL to make it more business friendly?

Lao: The BBL is a move in the right direction. We, the Mindanaoans, are treated as second class citizens. BBL is good to give the people of Mindanao a chance to chart their own destiny. They generate much percentage of the food source for the country, but gets minimal revenue share. Why suffer as a 2nd class citizen when you contribute to the economy of the country? There is a 46-50% poverty incidence in the ARMM. There is a saying - If you plant a seed under a big tree, it will not grow properly. With the BBL – we should take a risk and give our children a chance to grow. If BBL succeeds, the rest of Mindanao will ask for it. The basic concept is good. For business to thrive, we need a business-friendly environment. There is a saying “A bad peace is better than a good war”. This is the formula for Mindanao to move forward.


Tejada: (to NEDA) What are the benefits of peace and the cost of war?

Endencia: We spend P8.2 billion annually on the cost of war in periods of intense conflict, and

P5-billion annually on periods of not so intense conflicts.

In terms of human life lost, citing a study— from 2000-2002 there were 120,000 deaths, not including the wounded and disabled. ¾ of this took place in ARMM. 50,000 children are displaced by the armed conflict every year.

Acharon: I don’t believe that these (armed) groups will disappear upon approval of BBL, but this is a good start because it will solve one issue at a time.

Hernandez: First off, I want to clarify that all these questions are so that the Supreme Court will not later shoot down the law. Any question / clarification should not be seen as not being cooperative. We are all for peace. We just don’t want this to be an exercise in futility. We are just ensuring that everything will be clear.

Hernandez: (to NEDA, DTI, MinDA) How do you treat the Bangsamoro? In terms of calculating the growth projections? Should the results differ, are you allowed to make improvements?

Endencia: The relationship is coordinative. The Bangsamoro Development Plan is Bangsamoro-owned, not NEDA driven. We just make sure that there is a consistency in the policies. We are allowed to give them feedback.

Bacani: The Bangsamoro Development plan is required to be consistent with National Development Goals. The Bangsamoro Minister will be part of the NEDA Board to ensure that the two are in sync.

Acharon: In the previous meetings, Hon. Iqbal says he will not answer hypothetical questions. In this hearing we also don’t want to hear hypothetical answers.


Hernandez: Will Bangsamoro create a Freeport with no customs, duties, taxes? What is the position of DTI on the freeport? Will the BIR, DTI, etc, be consulted? What is the position of the national government and position of the agencies?

Catibayan: We are not prepared to answer that question at the moment. We will submit a position paper.

Bacani: (Reads the economic provisions on freeport zones)

Lobregat: Re: Sec 210 – gives powers on economic zones, counter-trade and trade, and barter with ASEAN countries, unlike in RA 9054 which talks of trade with only 3 countries. What is MinDA’s role now on BIMP-EAGA? Bangsamoro can trade with ASEAN. “Sila na mamamahala sa buong ASEAN trade? It can’t be just a work in progress. Let us level the expectations. There’s the MNLF, Abu Sayaff, etc. The MILF is only a temporary gate-keeper. Let us stop calling those who question these provisions as peace spoilers. We are raising questions to prevent similar occurrences. (Read Jesus Dureza’s article on MindaNews on him not being a “peace spoiler”)


Sidelights, observations

There is an issue with fully threshing out the role of the agencies in the new Bangsamoro government. MinDA especially wants a clear-cut delineation of jurisdiction, duties and responsibilities. Rep. Lobregat keeps alluding to the “improper” way of conducting consultations, them being “consultations after the fact.”


There is an insistence for the centrality of decision-making with regard to certain issues such as water distribution and energy production (i.e. creation of Water Resource Board, and giving sole power to the President to decide issues of power distribution).


It is also observed that the congressmen were not satisfied with answers that contain hypothetical scenarios. They require something concrete, and black-and-white.