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Salceda: Key to PH energy security could be in Bangsamoro; House tax chair wants to ensure tax provisions of exploration deals in BARMM are “clear, fair, and square”

July 8th, 2023

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) says that he is working with the national government and will be engaging the Bangsamoro government on the region’s Tax Code, as part of efforts to ensure that the tax regime for oil and gas exploration and extraction in the region are “clean, fair, and square,” in response to the recent formalization of the Intergovernmental Energy Board (IEB), which will manage the extraction of petroleum reserves in the Bangsamoro.

The IEB was created this week in the presence of President Marcos. The Board’s duties will include setting policies for the extraction of oil and gas in the Bangsamoro region, which covers such gas-rich areas as the Liguasan Marsh.

“Liguasan Marsh is suspected to have the largest deposits of natural gas in Southeast Asia. Now, we can’t know for sure, because prospecting has been limited by lack of investments and the peace and order situation, until now. The BARMM government and close collaboration with the National Government gives us the opportunity to do that,” Salceda said.

The Liguasan Marsh, which includes large swathes of BARMM, is a 220,000-hectare wetland with proven reserves of natural gas.

“It could be the key to energy independence for the Philippines, especially with the shift towards LNG as a transition away from coal. It could also make BARMM one of the richest areas in the country, if we can manage governance well.”

Salceda says that clarifying its tax regime early on is an opportunity to “start on the right foot and correct the mistakes of our existing tax regime on oil and gas exploration, under Presidential Decree No. 87.”

“The opportunity here is we start on a more or less blank slate in terms of policy,” Salceda said.

Salceda adds that he is now working with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity, and will be engaging the Bangsamoro Parliament, in ensuring that the BARMM Tax Code is “constitutional, consistent, and constructive,” especially in areas of oil and gas exploration.

“The regime I envision is 60 percent of net revenues go to government, equally shared between BARMM and the NG, in lieu of any and all taxes. Of course, that decision is to be made by the Bangsamoro Parliament, but my Committee will offer its expertise and perspective.”

“We want no hiccups once exploration begins, so anything that might be litigious or contentious is best ironed out. I am happy to say that my initial discussions with BARMM stakeholders were received with openness and enthusiasm,” Salceda added.

This week, the OPAPRU under Secretary Carlito Galvez also released a statement thanking Salceda for his support to the peace process.

“Our discussion with Rep. Salceda was very productive. We identified possible areas of collaboration, particularly on how we can enhance the delivery of our peacebuilding initiatives in the Bangsamoro and other conflict-affected areas in the country,” Galvez said in the statement. (

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