GPH, MILF signing of wealth sharing annex not rushed for SONA — Palace

July 17, 2013 11:50 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, July 17 (PNA) — Malacanang on Wednesday said the signing of the wealth sharing annex for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Government of the Philippines (GOP) and the Moro Islamic LiberationFront (MILF) was not rushed in time for the the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda, in a press briefing, said that the accusation is "unfair" to the members of both peace panels who worked hard to come up with a win-win solution to the issue.

"We were discussing the details of the negotiations. We were discussing the provisions in the negotiations. So, to those who are saying it was signed because of SONA, that’s a very unfair accusation given the amount of work done by (GPH peace panel)Chairman (Miriam) Iya (Coronel) Ferrer, former Secretary Senen Bacani, Yasmin Busran-Lao, and all the other members of the negotiating panel," he said.

"It is an injustice to the hard work that the panel, the President, the Cabinet, poured into in coming up with the wealth-sharing agreement as we see it now," he added.

Lacierda said both parties were trying to come up with a doable, deliverable wealth-sharing agreement "and at no instance, did the State of the Nation Address ever come up in the discussions."

"It (SONA) was so far removed. It was never even discussed. I can assure you of that because I was present in the negotiations," he said.

Ferrer earlier said the signing of the wealth sharing annex "was driven by its own dynamics, and that dynamics certainly included that constant communication with our respective principals." m

"There is no short-term interest that had to be satisfied by this, except for the desire that the peace will be kept, especially on the ground. The SONA was not the driving force in signing the annex. That is something that’s very certain," she stressed.

Ferrer said the formula on wealth sharing acknowledged that the Bangsamoro would still need to contribute to the rest of the country even if the resources are in the area.

Under the wealth sharing agreement on taxation, both panels agreed that 25 percent of the Central Government taxes, fees and charges collected in the Bangsamoro, other than tariff and custom duties will go to the Central Government, while 75 percent of it, including the shares of the local government units, will go to the Bangsamoro government.

When it comes to natural resources, 75 percent of income derived from exploration, development and utilization of metallic minerals within the region will go to the Bangsamoro Government. With respect to non-metallic minerals (sand, gravel, and quarry resources), such revenues will go to the Bangsamoro government and its local government units.

On the other hand, income derived from fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) and uranium will be shared equally between the Central government and the Bangsamoro. (PNA)

FPV/LGI

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