By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte led the ceremonial signing of the Philippine Identification System Act and the presentation of the organic law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at Malacañang on Monday, Aug. 6.
The ceremony was attended by the Cabinet members; members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, including Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria M. Arroyo; Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) officials; members of the diplomatic corps; Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) officials; and members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), including Mohagher Q. Iqbal and Ghazali Jaafar who are also high-ranking leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
In his speech, Mr. Duterte said the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Act “will not just enhance administrative governance but reduce corruption, curtail bureaucratic red tape, and promote the ease of doing business, (and) also avert fraudulent transactions, strengthen financial inclusion, and create a more secure environment for our people.”
The new law aims to eliminate the need to present other forms of identification when transacting with the government and the private sector by providing a single valid proof of identity for all Filipino citizens and foreign residents in the country.
As the implementing agency, PSA said in a statement it will lead the implementation of the national ID system together with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Finance (DoF), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), National Privacy Commission (NPC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Social Security System (SSS) and Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) forming the PhilSys Policy and Coordination Council (PSPCC).
PSA also said NEDA Secretary and PSPCC Chairman Ernesto M. Pernia will convene the council to discuss plans for PhilSys implementation. As head of the implementing agency PSA, Undersecretary Lisa Grace S. Bersales will act as Co-chair.
In the coming months, PSA said it will conducting a pilot implementation in selected regions in the Philippines in collaboration with the Council’s member-agencies. “The pilot test aims to lay down the registration process prior to the full 5-year implementation starting 2019,” the PSA’s statement also read.
As for the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or Republic Act No. 11054, Mr. Duterte said he signed it into law hoping this will “finally end the decades-old conflict [in Mindanao] that is rooted in the Bangsamoro’s fight for self-determination and the recognition of their unique identity.”
According to a press briefer on the BOL, the autonomy with transparency and accountability of the Bangsamoro Government is guaranteed by the following features: parliamentary form of government, fiscal autonomy, and inclusivity.
“The Parliamentary form of government allows more democratic participation, ensures greater diversity and representation, and encourages the formation of genuinely principled political parties. The Parliament will be composed of 80 members representing different parties, sectors and districts elected by the people through popular representation which safeguards the monopoly of membership of a certain sector. The Members of the Parliament then choose the Chief Minister, and two Deputy Chief Ministers, nominated by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister appoints members of his cabinet, majority of whom shall come from the members of Parliament. The Parliament is given the power to enact laws to promote, protect and ensure the general welfare of the Bangsamoro people and other inhabitants in the region. The Parliament has the power to pass an annual appropriations law for the region, clearly defining where the appropriation shall be utilized.”
“The Bangsamoro Organic Law grants the Bangsamoro Government the right to manage their funds, income and resources. The law also states that the National Government will provide an annual block grant automatically appropriated in the General Appropriations Act of the Congress to the Bangsamoro government in order for it to efficiently perform its powers and functions. The block grant which will be released directly to the Bangsamoro Government is equivalent to five percent (5%) of the net collection of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and from the Bureau of Customs. The block grant, though and other national government subsidies given in lump sum may not be spent without an appropriations law defining the purpose for which they are intended.”
“Taxes collected from the region will be split 25% — 75% in favor of the Bangsamoro Government. This sharing arrangement aims for the Bangsamoro Government to catch up with other region in terms of economic developments as it suffered years of accumulated neglect due to the armed-conflict and under investments both from the government and the private sector.”
“The Bangsamoro Organic Law recognizes and respects the rights of every sector and groups in the Bangsamoro area. Ten percent (10%) of the Parliamentary seats are reserved for non-Moro indigenous peoples and settler communities, women, youth, traditional leaders and the Ulama. Further, the Bangsamoro Government adopts measures for the promotion and protection of these rights thru the creation of a Ministry for Indigenous Peoples that will formulate and implement policies, plans, and programs for all IPs (indigenous peoples) in the region, on top of upholding the existing laws for IPs.”